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“DEA and Walgreens Settlement”

DEA Chronicles By Larry P. Cote

On June 11, 2013, the DEA announced that Walgreens Corporation agreed to pay $80 million in civil penalties, the largest settlement in DEA history. This settlement resolves both the DEA’s administrative actions against Walgreens and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s civil penalty investigation. In addition to the civil penalty, Walgreens agreed to a two year suspension of the DEA registrations for its Jupiter, Florida distribution center. Walgreens also agreed to the revocation of the DEA registration for six pharmacies. Walgreens may seek a new DEA registration for each of these locations no sooner that May 2014.

Unfortunately for other DEA registrants out there, the settlement also means the dismissal of Walgreens’ appeal in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Registrants will continue to wait for some light to be shed (by another court in another case?) on whether DEA’s extra-regulatory guidance on suspicious order monitoring is legally binding and what type of “due diligence” is actually required by distributors.

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