The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced Tuesday that Walgreens has agreed to shell out $80 million to settle allegations that it allowed oxycodone and other controlled drugs to be diverted for black market sales from its Jupiter, Fla., distribution center.
The settlement, which is the largest in the DEA’s history, comes after the agency accused Walgreens last year of failing to maintain proper controls to ensure it didn’t dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers.
According to the DEA, the Jupiter distribution center has been the single largest distributor of oxycodone products in Florida since 2009. In 2011, 16 of the top 25 largest oxycodone purchasers by Walgreens retail pharmacies, including the top six purchasers, were in Florida and supplied by the Jupiter center, the agency said.
Walgreens “committed an unprecedented number of record-keeping and dispensing violations” under the Controlled Substances Act, which is designed to prevent prescription painkillers from ending up on the streets, the DEA said.
In addition to the payout, Walgreens’ Jupiter center is banned from distributing and dispensing similar controlled substances until 2014. The deal also resolves similar investigations nationwide, including in Colorado, Michigan, and New York.
Separately last year, Cardinal Health reached a deal with the DEA that blocked its Lakeland, Fla. facility from distributing controlled substances for two years following similar accusations.