Texas pharmacist accused of ignoring ‘red flags’ when filling opioid prescriptions

The Justice Department is trying to shut down a Southwest Side pharmacy accused of ignoring signs of abuse and illegally filling opioid prescriptions.

Jitendra Chaudhary, the lead pharmacist and co-owner of Rite-Away Pharmacy and Medical Supply #2, is accused of unlawfully filling controlled substance prescriptions, according to a civil complaint filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The complaint alleges that Chaudhary and Rite-Away ignored numerous “red flags” or obvious signs of abuse or distraction when filling opioid prescriptions. A patient died from the toxic effects of fentanyl nine days after Rite-Away filled out her prescription for the drug, the complaint said.

“As pharmacists, the defendants had a legal obligation to ensure that prescriptions for controlled substances are prescribed for legitimate medical purposes before they are sold and distributed to patients,” said Ashley C. Hoff, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. “Your decision to repeatedly ignore signs of abuse and distraction when dispensing opioids is a failure to fulfill that duty at the expense of patient health. The US Attorney’s Office will use these available resources to prevent pharmacies and pharmacists from evading their responsibilities amid the opioid crisis.”

The complaint alleges that by ignoring signs of abuse and distraction, Chaudhary and the pharmacy, which is located at 2716 SW Military Drive, unlawfully filled controlled substance prescriptions outside of normal professional practice and filled prescriptions that were not for a legitimate medical Purpose were issued violation of the Narcotics Act.

Both Chaudhary and the pharmacy changed prescriptions that lacked the information needed to appear to comply with DEA ​​regulations, the complaint said.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and a permanent injunction to prevent further violations.

The DEA’s San Antonio District Office is conducting the ongoing investigation, officials said.

jbeltran@express-news.net | Twitter: @JBfromSA

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