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CVS to Pay $450K Settlement Following DEA Investigation

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

 

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island announced Monday that CVS Health Corp. has agreed to pay $450,000 to resolve the United States’ allegations that several of its Rhode Island stores violated the federal Controlled Substances Act by filling invalid prescriptions and maintaining deficient records.

“The diversion and misuse of prescription painkillers are a public health crisis in the State of Rhode Island,” commented U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “Even in cases where there is no evidence of abuse or nefarious intent, this Office remains committed to using all the legal tools at our disposal to ensure that everyone in the chain of controlled substance distribution -- from physicians to pharmacists -- abides by the strict requirements of the law.”

The settlement caps an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and the DEA Office of Diversion Control of CVS’ conduct at its Rhode Island retail pharmacy locations in filling prescriptions for various controlled substances with a high potential for abuse. Under the Controlled Substances Act and its implementing regulations, substances such as painkillers and opioids can only be prescribed for legitimate medical purposes by a physician.  The law, however, also places a “corresponding responsibility” on the pharmacist filling the prescription to ensure that the prescription is valid and legal, and that that the prescriber has the legal authority to prescribe the drug.  The Act also imposes a number of recordkeeping requirements.

CVS Case

The U.S. Attorney's office said that in this case, the United States alleged that CVS retail pharmacies in Rhode Island filled a number of forged prescriptions with invalid DEA numbers, and filled multiple prescriptions written by psychiatric nurse practitioners for the opioid painkiller hydrocodone, despite the fact that these practitioners were not legally permitted to prescribe these drugs.  Additionally, the government alleged that CVS had recordkeeping deficiencies.

 Under the terms of a civil agreement, CVS will pay a civil penalty of $450,000 for its alleged conduct in the State of Rhode Island.  CVS, while acknowledging that its pharmacists bear a corresponding responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act, has denied wrongdoing in this case. 

“DEA registrants are responsible to handle controlled substances in compliance with the Controlled Substance Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson.  “Our obligation is to improve public safety and public health, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners nationwide to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed.”
 
This matter was litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Cunha and Bethany N. Wong.

 

Related Slideshow: #50 to #1: Doctors in RI with the Most Medicare Prescription Claims

The following information was found on ProPublica, which performs investigative journalism for the sake of the public interest. 

The doctors listed here self-identified internal medicine as their primary specialty, and are sorted from the lowest amount of Medicare prescription claims filled in 2013 (the latest data year available) to the highest amount of Medicare prescription claims filled during that time frame.  

Prev Next

#50

Prescriber: Robert Cicchelli MD

City: Middletown

Claims Filled: 12,483

Total Cost: $548K

# of Medicare D Patients: 480

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 23%

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#49

Prescriber: Parul Shah MD

City: East Providence

Claims Filled: 12,498

Total Cost: $547K

# of Medicare D Patients: 499

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#48

Prescriber: Amber Gul M.D.

City: Pawtucket

Claims Filled: 12,694

Total Cost: $524K

# of Medicare D Patients: 463

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 22%

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#47

Prescriber: Mechery Davis MD

City: Warwick

Claims Filled: 13,052

Total Cost: $534K

# of Medicare D Patients: 443

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#46

Prescriber: Cassandra Constantino MD

City: Bristol

Claims Filled: 13,054

Total Cost: $493K

# of Medicare D Patients: 530

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 14%

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#45

Prescriber: Joan Harrison M.D.

City: Tiverton

Claims Filled: 13,219

Total Cost: $541K

# of Medicare D Patients: 465

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 16%

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#44

Prescriber: Alberto Erfe MD

City: Woonsocket

Claims Filled: 13,269

Total Cost: $748K

# of Medicare D Patients: 286

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 28%

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#43

Prescriber: Richard Ryter MD

City: Smithfield

Claims Filled: 13,350

Total Cost: $490K

# of Medicare D Patients: 611

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#42

Prescriber: Stephen Beaupre MD

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 13,397

Total Cost: $559K

# of Medicare D Patients: 421

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#41

Prescriber: Peter Eller M.D.

City: Pawtucket

Claims Filled: 13,465

Total Cost: $596K

# of Medicare D Patients: 709

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#40

Prescriber: Jason Boudjouk M.D.

City: Warwick

Claims Filled: 13,488

Total Cost: $616K

# of Medicare D Patients: 419

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 20%

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#39

Prescriber: Stephanie Krusz MD

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 13,525

Total Cost: $508K

# of Medicare D Patients: 514

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#38

Prescriber: Gilbert Teixeira DO

City: East Providence

Claims Filled: 13,654

Total Cost: $664K

# of Medicare D Patients: 530

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 17%

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#37

Prescriber: Richard Leach DO

City: East Greenwich

Claims Filled: 13,655

Total Cost: $494K

# of Medicare D Patients: 541

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 17%

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#36

Prescriber: James Cardi M.D.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 14,253

Total Cost: $554K

# of Medicare D Patients: 621

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 16%

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#35

Prescriber: Leonard Mannarelli D.O.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 14,515

Total Cost: $682K

# of Medicare D Patients: 423

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#34

Prescriber: John Bandola M.D.

City: Wakefield

Claims Filled: 14,736

Total Cost: $583K

# of Medicare D Patients: 537

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 18%

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#33

Prescriber: Jeffry Winters MD

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 15,013

Total Cost: $535K

# of Medicare D Patients: 684

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#32

Prescriber: Amir Alizadeh, MD Inc. MD 

City: North Providence

Claims Filled: 15,019

Total Cost: $506K

# of Medicare D Patients: 683

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#31

Prescriber: Herman Ayvazyan MD

City: East Providence

Claims Filled: 15,075

Total Cost: $670K

# of Medicare D Patients: 580

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#30

Prescriber: Fred Ferri MD

City: Johnston

Claims Filled: 15,147

Total Cost: $446K

# of Medicare D Patients: 596

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 13%

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#29

Prescriber: Angelo Dicenso M.D.

City: Johnston

Claims Filled: 15,324

Total Cost: $482K

# of Medicare D Patients: 659

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#28

Prescriber: Kimberly Humulock DO

City: Warwick

Claims Filled: 15,337

Total Cost: $614K

# of Medicare D Patients: 492

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 17%

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#27

Prescriber: Greigstone Yearwood M.D.

City: Woonsocket

Claims Filled: 15,401

Total Cost: $754K

# of Medicare D Patients: 540 

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 18%

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#26

Prescriber: Donald McNiece MD

City: Wakefield

Claims Filled: 15,571

Total Cost: $657K

# of Medicare D Patients: 706

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#25

Prescriber: Jeffrey Drogin MD

City: East Providence

Claims Filled: 15,686

Total Cost: $936K

# of Medicare D Patients: 711

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 22% 

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#24

Prescriber: David DiCecco M.D.

City: North Providence

Claims Filled: 15,690

Total Cost: $627K

# of Medicare D Patients: 418

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 23%

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#23

Prescriber: Dennis Botelho MD

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 15,845

Total Cost: $633K

# of Medicare D Patients: 584

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 17%

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#22

Prescriber: Bassam Khabbaz MD

City: Cumberland

Claims Filled: 15,884

Total Cost: $861K

# of Medicare D Patients: 310

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 26%

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#21

Prescriber: Sumaira Ali M.D.

City: Greenville

Claims Filled: 16,266

Total Cost: $761K

# of Medicare D Patients: 446

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 25%

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#20

Prescriber: Gregory Allen D.O.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 16,475

Total Cost: $862K

# of Medicare D Patients: 435

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 26%

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#19

Prescriber: Hugo Yamada MD

City: Lincoln

Claims Filled: 16,605

Total Cost: $967K

# of Medicare D Patients: 594

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 21%

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#18

Prescriber: Nicholas Turilli D.O.

City: Warwick

Claims Filled: 16,871

Total Cost: $867K

# of Medicare D Patients: 659

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 23%

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#17

Prescriber: Pamela Harrop MD

City: Bristol

Claims Filled: 17,393

Total Cost: $667K

# of Medicare D Patients: 485

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 18%

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#16

Prescriber: Kathleen Gordon DO

City: Johnston

Claims Filled: 17,864

Total Cost: $734K

# of Medicare D Patients: 626

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 21%

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#15

Prescriber: Job Sandoval MD

City: Westerly

Claims Filled: 18,348

Total Cost: $567K

# of Medicare D Patients: 744

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 14%

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#14

Prescriber: Howard Perrone M.D.

City: Bristol

Claims Filled: 18,585

Total Cost: $746K

# of Medicare D Patients: 531

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 21%

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#13

Prescriber: Stanley Balon M.D.

City: Cumberland

Claims Filled: 19,272

Total Cost: $663K

# of Medicare D Patients: 664

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 15%

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#12

Prescriber: Olga Tverskaya M.D. 

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 19,766

Total Cost: $928K

# of Medicare D Patients: 530

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 23%

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#11

Prescriber: Christopher Superczynski M.D.

City: Woonsocket

Claims Filled: 20,483

Total Cost: $901K

# of Medicare D Patients: 1,008

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 16%

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#10

Prescriber: Edward Gauthier M.D.

City: North Providence

Claims Filled: 20,741

Total Cost: $961K

# of Medicare D Patients: 384

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 27%

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#9

Prescriber: William Beliveau MD

City: Johnston

Claims Filled: 20,888

Total Cost: $952K

# of Medicare D Patients: 931

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 25%

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#8

Prescriber: Frank Maggiacomo D.O.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 22,043

Total Cost: $1.01M

# of Medicare D Patients: 869

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 19%

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#7

Prescriber: Ahmad Al-Raqqad M.D.

City: Pawtucket

Claims Filled: 23,773

Total Cost: $1.03M

# of Medicare D Patients: 581

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 21%

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#6

Prescriber: Anthony Lombardi MD

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 24,203

Total Cost: $1.11M

# of Medicare D Patients: 713

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 24%

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#5

Prescriber: Ralph Santoro M.D.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 28,596

Total Cost: $1.32M

# of Medicare D Patients: 641

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 24%

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#4

Prescriber: Avanish Mehta M.D.

City: Cumberland

Claims Filled: 30,098

Total Cost: $1.48M

# of Medicare D Patients: 480

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 26%

Prev Next

#3

Prescriber: Richard Ruggieri M.D. 

City: Providence

Claims Filled: 37,529

Total Cost: $1.82M

# of Medicare D Patients: 1,167

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 23%

Prev Next

#2

Prescriber: Shahzad Khurshid M.D. 

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 38,060

Total Cost: $1.74M

# of Medicare D Patients: 731

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 26%

Prev Next

#1

Prescriber: Hao Huang M.D.

City: Cranston

Claims Filled: 83,917

Total Cost: $4.03M

# of Medicare D Patients: 1,568

Claims for Brand Name Drugs: 26%

 
 

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