The Dixon CVS Pharmacy is one of four under investigation by the Attorney’s Office in Sacramento and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the California Board of Pharmacy for missing prescription pain medication. The other three CVS stores are in Fairfield, Turlock and Modesto.
An Administrative Inspection Warrant was issued May 13 of last year to allow a DEA agent to inspect the records of the Dixon location.
According to published reports, 5,000 pills were unaccounted for in the Dixon CVS.
In Fairfield, 11,000 were missing; in Turlock, 16,000; and in Modesto 5,000 – for a total of an estimated 37,000 pills.
The DEA served the stores with warrants almost a year ago after learning about prescription drugs like Vicodin that were not present or accounted.
The company now faces up to 2,973 separate violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act because its records don’t match the actual inventory of the drugs in question. CVS could be forced to pay upwards of $29 million in penalties for these possible violations.
The DEA investigation started in 2012, when a DEA investigator learned of missing hydrocodone pills from a store in Roseville. A pharmacy worker at the store was seen on a surveillance tape sticking a bottle of pills in her pants. She eventually admitted to her employers that she had stolen some 20,000 pills.
A CVS spokesperson stated the active DEA investigations are to assure “compliance with state and federal requirements for administrative record keeping related to invoices and inventory for controlled substances.”
At this time it is not confirmed if the pills are missing because of a record keeping problem, or are stolen.
According to Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento US Attorney’s Office, stated each pill brings about $10 on the black market.