New Jersey Pharmacy Admits Illegal Prescription Opioid Distribution and Kickback Scheme and Accepts Criminal and Civil Penalties | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – A Bergen County pharmacy today admitted its role in a conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription opioids and bribe health care providers, the U.S. attorney announced. Philip R. Sellinger.
Dunn Meadow LLC (doing business as Dunn Meadow Pharmacy) of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Julien Neals to a report charging him with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription fentanyl and to bribe health care providers. Dunn Meadow also signed a civil settlement with the United States for violations of the False Claims Act and the Controlled Substances Act.
According to the documents filed in this case, the statements made in court and the terms of the civil settlement:
Dunn Meadow was a licensed retail pharmacy that mailed controlled substances and other prescription drugs to patients across the United States, including highly addictive and dangerous transmucosal immediate-release (TIRF) fentanyl drugs . Dunn Meadow had contracts with and received payments from pharmaceutical companies that marketed and sold TIRF drugs, including INSYS Pharma Inc.
From 2015 to 2019, Dunn Meadow dispensed prescription TIRF drugs and other controlled substances knowing that the prescriptions were not written for a legitimate medical purpose. Dunn Meadow knowingly filled prescriptions for controlled substances, including TIRF drugs, for patients exhibiting suspicious and drug-seeking behavior, including patients who repeatedly requested early refills, paid thousands of dollars cash for their prescriptions or requested that prescriptions be sent to suspicious or inappropriate locations, including hotels, casinos and elementary schools.
Despite warnings from third parties, including some of its suppliers, Dunn Meadow continued to fill prescriptions for TIRF drugs and other opioids written by physicians with suspicious and problematic prescribing habits, sometimes without receiving an original prescription. After two different pharmaceutical suppliers terminated supply agreements with Dunn Meadow, Dunn Meadow submitted demands to other suppliers stating that no supplier had ever suspended, ceased or restricted sales of controlled substances to Dunn Meadow .
Dunn Meadow also admitted that he conspired to bribe healthcare providers and pharmaceutical company sales representatives in violation of federal anti-bribery law, in the form of lunches, dinners and happy hours to entice them to send TIRF prescriptions to Dunn Meadow. . Dunn Meadow admitted that his violations of the law caused a loss of more than $4.5 million to federally funded health care programs.
Additionally, Dunn Meadow and its parent company, Allegheny Pharma LLC, have entered into a civil settlement with the United States to resolve Dunn Meadow’s civil liability for violations of the False Claims Act and the Controlled Substances Act. Dunn Meadow’s criminal restitution payment will be applied to the civil resolution. Dunn Meadow has also agreed to pay up to $50 million over the next five years to resolve its civil liability if it generates future revenue.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited hijacking investigators from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division, under Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; US Department of Health and Human Services Special Agents, Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Investigations-New Jersey Field Office, under Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; special agents from the United States Department of Defense, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the New Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Patrick J. Hegarty; and FBI Special Agents, under Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Peck and Emma Spiro of the Criminal Division, Susan Pappy of the Civil Division and Trial Attorney Douglas Rosenthal of the Civil Division of the Justice Department.