SEATTLE — Pharmacies in Seattle and Bellingham have been targeted by federal investigators looking for evidence that potentially dangerous returned drugs were being resold to elderly and disabled patients without their knowledge.
According to court papers filed in the Food and Drug Administration investigation, the pharmacies’ owners were reselling medicine collected from patients living in long-term care facilities around Western Washington. Investigator say some of the drugs were collected from residents after they died, then repacked and sold as new.
Investigators did not note which long-term care facilities were clients of the pharmacies, nor did they estimate how many patients may have been sold second-hand drugs.
Among the targets of the investigation were the Scrips LTC Pharmacy in Seattle and Custom Prescription Shoppe in Bellingham. Speaking Wednesday on behalf of the pharmacies, attorney Ronald Friedman said his clients have been working with regulators and are prepared to resolve any problems if they are identified.
“We take these allegations very, very seriously,” Friedman said. “We’ve been cooperating with federal and state regulatory authorities.”
The pharmacies are in the business of delivering medication to adult family homes and medical boarding houses around Western Washington. But, investigators said the owners were looking to double-dip by reselling discarded drugs to patients, many of whom rely on Medicaid to pay their medical bills.
The federal investigation was launched in August.
According to court documents, a former pharmacy manager reported the pharmacy was reselling used drugs to patients at long-term care facilities around Western Washington. Additionally, he said the pharmacy was charging government insurers full price for drugs acquired for free as samples, authorities said.