CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) is under investigation after roughly 37,000 prescription pain pills at four California stores went missing. The retailer could face up to $29 million in fines for roughly 3,000 possible violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act in connection with the incident.
Officials at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the California Board of Pharmacy confirmed that the hydrocodone pills have been unaccounted for and it is suspected that they may have been sold on the black market, reports the Los Angeles Times. The pills could have a street value of up to $10 per pill.
The Sacramento Drug Enforcement Administration office became aware of the probability of missing pills in the region in December 2012, when a pharmacy employee was caught hiding a bottle of hydrocodone in her pants. The worker was arrested and charged with embezzlement, and in May 2013, warrants were served on four California CVS stores. The stores are located in Modesto, Fairfield, Dixon and Turlock.
CVS has yet to respond to a letter sent by the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento.
Past cases of pills gone missing have been found to be the result of pharmacists who self-medicate or employees who steal the drugs. The thefts are usually discovered during routine inventory checks.
-See this Los Angeles Times article
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