CVS subsidiary Omnicare to pay $15M to settle allegations it improperly dispensed opioids

Gavel with scales of justice in background
Omnicare will pay $15 million to settle allegations it improperly dispensed opioids. (William_Potter / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

CVS Health subsidiary Omnicare will pay $15.3 million to settle allegations that it improperly dispensed opioids and other controlled substances, the Department of Justice announced.

Omnicare provides pharmacy services to long-term care facilities.

A DOJ investigation found that Omnicare's oversight of "emergency kits," which are meant to be dispensed to patients in an emergency, was lax, according to the agency. Staff at the LTCFs would remove drugs, including controlled substances such as opioids, at times days before a doctor issued a prescription.

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DOJ also found that Omnicare repeatedly failed to properly document and report oral emergency prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances, U.S. attorneys said.

RELATED: Aetna whistleblower accuses CVS of false claims, unsealed lawsuit reveals

“The abuse of opioids and other controlled substances has taken a heavy toll in Colorado and our country,” said United States Attorney Jason Dunn in a statement. “It is critical that every company involved in the dispensing of these drugs strictly follows the controls required by law. And when they don’t, we will work to ensure that an appropriate penalty is imposed.”  

The case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Agency teams in Colorado, Utah, California and Oregon. As part of the settlement, Omnicare has also agreed to more tightly monitor and audit the emergency kits.

In a separate case, the DOJ in December joined a whistleblower suit that alleged Omnicare fraudulently billed government payers for hundreds of thousands of drugs dispensed to seniors in LTCFs between 2010 and 2018. The DOJ said that the company ignored refill limits and expiration dates on such prescriptions to bill for unnecessary prescriptions.

Omnicare is one of the largest providers of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities in the country, and it was acquired by CVS in 2015.

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