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Now We Know Why Wal-Mart Has That Smiley Face

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The U.S. Attorney's office has just announced the break-up of a major drug operation. It was run by Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, so you know it was convenient and cheap.

Wal-Mart Stores paid the Southern District of Texas a $637,000 fine in order to close cases involving Wal-Mart Pharmacy and Sam's Club employees who didn't quite keep the most accurate records on controlled substances in their posession.

Says the U.S. Attorney's office:

The accountability audits did not match the drugs on hand revealing major overages and shortages in the accountability of controlled substances, and there were missing invoices for controlled substances all in violation of the CSA. The investigation expanded to other facilities and revealed that several Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacies either did not file or did not timely file statutorily required reports of loss and/or theft with DEA. DEA registrants are required to file and timely file DEA forms to report suspected thefts or losses of controlled substances. Because of the pharmacies' lack of proper record keeping, a variety of Schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substances were lost or stolen and possibly diverted.

Those schedules are where the good stuff is, to be sure.

"The illegal diversion of controlled substances is a threat to public health and safety," acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson said. "Today's fine should serve as a reminder to the pharmaceutical industry of its accountability to the public. The public should be reassured by the enforcement efforts of the DEA as well as the industry's general overall compliance."

And with the fine ends the dream of gorging on free samples of hors d'ouerves while waiting for your Vicodin.

-- Richard Connelly

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