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CVS stores in California under investigation for missing narcotics

CVS Stores in California Under Investigation for Missing Narcotics

Four CVS stores are under federal investigation after a considerable amount of prescription narcotics allegedly went missing. HLN has more.

'How do you lose more than 37,000 painkillers? The DEA says that that many hydrocodone tablets are missing right now from four CVS stores in northern California.'

Due to the differences between CVS's records and its inventory of the prescription drug, the company could be facing a hefty fine.

'CVS could be fined $29 million if the charges turn out to be true.'

That's just the beginning of the investigation. Los Angeles Times reports officials are describing the missing painkillers as signs of other problems:

'In some cases, the drugs have gone missing because pharmacists 'self-medicate,' they said. But in most cases, the officials said lower-level pharmacy workers, such as technicians, have made off with the drugs and then sold them to others.'

Hydrocodone is sold under brand names such as Vicodin and Norco, and they're not cheap on the black market.

In 2011, CNN looked into how much prescription drugs sell for on the streets. The outlet found hydrocodone can be sold from anywhere between $5 to $20 per pill.

The Los Angeles Times says CVS has instructed its other stores in Southern California to 'get their paperwork in order.'

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Eddie March 13 2014 at 2:39 PM

Could it possibly be a simple error in count? Could it be that they never got delivered in the first place? Hardly likely the Pharmacist or Technician worked at all four Pharmacies. I certainly trust my Pharmacist more than I do the DEA. CVS is one whose policy scrutinizes ALL prescriptions, and especially control substances. DEA only scrutinizes "which jailhouse snitch will make the best liars for their prosecuted cases".

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bookworm0611 Eddie March 13 2014 at 3:04 PM

I work in a pharmacy and we count every control substance in the pharmacy regularly. We have only lost 3 pills in the last 6 months. A tech at a CVS in the city I work in actually stole about 5000 norco before she was caught because cvs does not require regular control counts. There is no way 37,000 pills just weren' t delivered or miscounted.

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prvrtbl1 March 13 2014 at 12:33 PM

count your pills, several times they were short counted.

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gmgpjandon March 13 2014 at 12:13 PM

Wouldn't you know it! Lose your civil rights in Florida and lose your dope in California. Figures.

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dave1marine March 13 2014 at 12:07 PM

A local pharmacy around here had the same problem a few weeks ago.
A young (19) "technician" was lifting vicodins, oxycodone, and other drugs from the shelves.
You'd think she's have had the intelligence to at least account for them through false scripts, but noooo, she simply lifted them off the shelves and into her purse.
She was hauled off in cuffs to the graybar.
I don't condone theft of ANYTHING, but if you're going to take up a life of crime, at least make an attempt to be good at it. Otherwise, you may as well learn to like green bologna and stale bread for your meals.

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Robert dave1marine March 13 2014 at 1:18 PM

Glad she was arrested. Those medications are deadly in the wrong hands.

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Gin March 13 2014 at 12:06 PM

The fault is not with CVS as a company, it is from human greed. They keep track of their inventory of meds, otherwise how would anyone have known that there were shortages? It does state in the article that "Due to the differences between CVS's records and its inventory of the prescription drug, the company could be facing a hefty fine." That tells me that the company was regularly checking the counts and found a discrepency. They do not mention the time frame either. It could have been a short period of time. 37,000 divided by 50 pills per scrip would only be 740 individual prescriptions. That is not really very many, when one considers how many people actually take the hydrocodone type pain killers. If you are taking it, look into a non-narcotic pain killer like
Ultram. It works just as well and is NOT addictive. If you take hydrocodone now, you are dependent on it, and would go through withdrawal if you happened to be away from your meds for several days, or the prescription got lost or damaged in some way. Hydrocode is an opiate and is highly addictive. Opiate withdrawal is nothing to mess with, and if you can avoid taking any opiates for pain, then it would be better to go with something non-narcotic every time.

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3 replies
Baisc March 13 2014 at 11:57 AM

CVS in general is a bad company. The state of CA regularly fines the stores because they maintain expired drugs (over the counter) and sell them to their customers. They do not remove them so it's always best to check the expiration dates. The problem is so bad that CVS estimated that they had in excess of 4 Billion in expired drugs in all their stores, so the cost of finding them (paying someone to do it, since they don't know what each stores has in expired product), gathering them, destroying them and then accounting for them is much greater than the routine fine of $200k they pay.

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Robert Baisc March 13 2014 at 1:09 PM

That is scary as well as dangerous.

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jarvchr March 13 2014 at 11:48 AM

At my local CVS almost all the employees in the pharmacy are all collage kids from the local university. You always have to double check because it is always wrong. The fact that they can't seem to walk and chew chewing gum at the same time is scary.

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Jimmy March 13 2014 at 11:45 AM

I would be looking more into who delivers the drugs to those 4 locations. I would bet it's a group within the delivery level that is taking them.

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nova9sw March 13 2014 at 5:33 PM

Interesting that they did not indicate which stores in Northern California were involved.

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realez24u nova9sw March 13 2014 at 6:46 PM

i live in palm springs and did deal with c.v.s.,one day i picked up a perscription and the store manager was on the aspirin etc isleshe kept looking around as if to see if someone was watching her i moved away and watched out the side of my eyes and she was tearing the dates off the bottlesthen i moved closer and looked at a couple of bottles and they where outdated and some where cut out with a razor blade. i asked her if this was legal and she said mind your own bussiness.i have never been to a cvs store since.

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pjarizona March 13 2014 at 11:35 AM

I think it happens more than not that they steal meds. I had 3 kids on addereal and EVERY month one of them was short with their meds. Sometimes it was only one but then sometimes like 7 pills were missing. I told the store several times and one time I went to go pick them up and before they even put them in the bag I said I wanted them counted cuz of the missing pills and guess what? several were missing. WELL as it turned out I noticed a person missing from the staff and when I asked where she was NO answer. And guess what NO MORE MISSING ADDERAL

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Robert pjarizona March 13 2014 at 1:15 PM

I was given a prescription for Percocet 10/325 mg back in 2011 after a ER visit. the doctor wrote 30 tablets and I only had 19 in the bottle when I opened the bottle and counted the pills. It's a good things that I opened and counted the pills there at the counter otherwise I would have been out of luck by paying for 30 and only getting 19.

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