ALUM CREEK, W.Va. A Lincoln County pharmacy has agreed to close its doors as part of a plea bargain with federal prosecutors.
Alum Creek-based Meds2Go Express Pharmacy pleaded guilty Friday to money laundering. The pharmacy filled opioid prescriptions from pill mill doctors and then began compounding its own opioids to keep up with the demand for the addictive drugs.
“Meds2Go Express Pharmacy is being held accountable for its role in contributing to West Virginia’s opioid crisis,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a news release. “This pharmacy put profits before all else and caused great harm to the communities it served. Prosecuting poison peddlers, whether they be a street dealer, drug kingpin, a medical professional or a corporation, has been and will continue to be, a priority for my office.”
PHARMACY SHUT DOWN. Meds2Go Express Pharmacy plead guilty to money laundering related to drug diversion scheme. Alum Creek location will shut down with restitution and forfeiture. Other location previously shut down. We continue with urgency and action! https://t.co/44H1mxEzPS
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) December 21, 2019
The plea agreement requires the pharmacy to shutdown and pay $ 250,000 in community restitution to help cover some of the damages caused by the epidemic.
Federal prosecutors said Meds2Go should have recognized the red flags associated with the pill mills. The pharmacy was getting customers from outside the area, patients were having prescriptions refilled before their prior prescriptions ran out, insurance companies were refusing to pay for the pills and the pills were paid for with cash only.
Meds2Go admitted in federal court that it then started to make its own oxycodone and methadone with compounding equipment.
“Due to the excessive amount of prescriptions for controlled substances written by the pill mill, the pharmacy could not obtain enough of a supply of oxycodone and methadone from its distributors,” federal prosecutors aid. “In order to keep up with the demand, the pharmacy bypassed purchase restrictions from the distributor by setting up and purchasing compounding equipment, training its employees to compound pills on a mass scale, purchasing powders and other raw materials, and manufacturing pills containing oxycodone and methadone. The compounded pills were then sold to cash-paying customers who had prescriptions written by the pill mill. The pharmacy used the proceeds from the illegal manufacturing and dispensing to carry on the operations of business.”
The $ 250,000 in restitution will be split between the state’s Crime Victim’s Fund (65 percent) and the state DHHR (35 percent).