DEA reacts to accusations made at pharmacy board hearing

Fear of DEA was a recurring theme at Florida's Board of Pharmacy hearing Monday, and agency officials are attempting to respond to concerns voiced at the event. "We don't want people to fear us, believe us, we're all on the same side," said Jeff Walsh, DEA assistant special agent in charge.

Fear of DEA was a recurring theme at Florida's Board of Pharmacy hearing Monday, and agency officials are attempting to respond to concerns voiced at the event. "We don't want people to fear us, believe us, we're all on the same side," said Jeff Walsh, DEA assistant special agent in charge. DEA said it is on the side of patients who need legitimate medication and addressed pharmacists who have altered their dispensing because they're afraid of DEA enforcement action. "I want to make myself perfectly clear. Pharmacists do not need to fear the DEA," said Susan Langston, DEA diversion program manager. The lead DEA agents told the Board of Pharmacy that the agency has stripped licenses from less than one half of 1% of all Florida pharmacies. They do not set quotas or interfere in business decisions of wholesalers and pharmacists. "The DEA does not give a checklist or tell a pharmacist his or her job is black and white, because it's not," said Langston. One of the themes of Monday's meeting was better education of pharmacists and wholesalers, when it comes to DEA practices. "I think it was helpful and I hope that we can work collaboratively with them," said Allison Dudley, executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy.