Walgreens to pay $200,000 settlement for lapses with opioids

Some Walgreens pharmacies failed to monitor patients' drug use patterns and did not use adequate professional judgment when dispensing opioids and other controlled substances, according to an investigation by Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts.

Some Walgreens pharmacies failed to monitor patients' drug use patterns and did not use adequate professional judgment when dispensing opioids and other controlled substances, according to an investigation by Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts. Under an agreement filed January 18 in Suffolk Superior Court, Walgreens agreed to pay $200,000 and follow certain procedures for dispensing opioids. A company spokesperson said in an email, "Our records show that the prescriptions in question were dispensed to patients for a legitimate medical purpose and issued by licensed practitioners." But the AG's Medicaid Fraud Division reported that, from 2010 through most of 2015, several Walgreens pharmacies across Massachusetts failed to monitor the opioid use of some Medicaid patients who were deemed high-risk. These individuals are supposed to fill all of their prescriptions from only one pharmacy, and that pharmacy must track the patient's pattern of prescription use. In addition, some of the state's 160 Walgreens accepted cash for controlled substances from patients in the state's MassHealth Medicaid program, rather than seeking approval from the agency. MassHealth rejected the prescriptions in some cases, but other times, it was never billed. "We're pleased to see Walgreens joining as a partner with the payment with this agreement," Healey said in a phone interview. "It's great to see them stepping up to put in place best practices."