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November 20, 2013

Modesto pharmacy agrees on settlement for filling suspicious prescriptions

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced they have reached a $350,000 civil settlement with a Modesto pharmacy filling suspicous prescriptions from a Visalia doctor dispensing highly addictive oxycodone and hydrocodone

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced they have reached a $350,000 civil settlement with a Modesto pharmacy that filled suspicious prescriptions from a Visalia doctor dispensing highly addictive oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Suwonnee Pongnorsing, owner of the Westside Plaza Pharmacy on I and Oak streets, has agreed to settle the federal claims, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento.

The prosecutors alleged that the pharmacy committed multiple record-keeping violations, failed to conduct a required inventory, failed to report to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration suspicious prescriptions and improperly dispensed the prescription drugs.

The doctor accused of handing out the suspicious prescriptions, Terrill Eugene Brown, was indicted by a federal grand jury in June. His case is still pending.

In April, 13 defendants, including eight Modestans, were indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations that they obtained the prescription and medicinal marijuana cards from Brown and later shipped the pills to other states.

Two of the pharmacy’s suppliers alerted the Modesto business about suspicious drug ordering patterns. One supplier stopped filling the pharmacy’s orders because they repeatedly exceeded the regulatory limits for the prescription drugs. The other supplier threatened to halt shipments unless the pharmacy ceased filling suspicious prescriptions.

The prosecutors said the Westside Plaza Pharmacy should have realized the doctor was not performing legitimate underlying medical examinations for the prescriptions he was writing. As part of the settlement, the pharmacy owner agreed not to contest the federal allegations.

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