HAZELHURST, Ga. (AP) — A south Georgia pharmacy that gave out 350,000 illegal prescriptions from a doctor running a pill mill agreed to pay over $2 million in fines, authorities said.
Chip’s Discount Drugs and pharmacist, Rogers “Chip” Wood, Jr., settled on a federal lawsuit and agreed to penalties, U.S. Attorney, Bobby L. Christine, said Tuesday in a news release.
According to the lawsuit, the pharmacy ignored numerous red flags and dispensed thousands of illegal prescriptions for opioids and other substances written by Dr. Frank Bynes, Jr. over the course of two years. Bynes was sentenced in February to 20 years in federal prison for writing illegal prescriptions.
Pharmacies that turn a blind eye to illegitimate prescriptions are contributing to the opioid epidemic and allowing pill-mill doctors to wreak havoc on the community, Christie said.
According to the lawsuit, the Hazlehurst-based pharmacy and Wood also could not account for more than 9,000 prescription pain medications supplied to the pharmacy, as required by law.
“This pharmacist scarred many lives through his actions,” said Robert J. Murphy of the DEA in Atlanta, “Unfortunately, many of those patients will struggle with addiction for the rest of their lives.”
The settlement is the fifth prosecution of pharmacies or pharmacists affiliated with Bynes.
In addition to Chip’s Discount Drugs, authorities recently announced a pharmacy in Bloomingdale, Georgia, and its pharmacists agreed to pay up to $200,000 to settle claims they illegally filled prescriptions by Bynes.
The U.S. Attorney’s office previously announced prosecution of two additional Georgia pharmacies in the investigation.