Local pharmacy owner filled bogus prescriptions

Posted at 7:54 PM, Apr 07, 2016

New Berlin HealthMart Pharmacy remains closed after a search warrant was executed in late March.

According to the search warrant obtained by the I-Team, the owner of the pharmacy illegally supplied friends and family members with painkillers and filled bogus prescriptions.

The owner is also accused of selling 500-count bottles of hydrocodone for $1,000 each and giving medication to the co-owner of a strip club where he allegedly drinks for free.

In 2013, Wisconsin launched a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, known as the PDMP.

Similar databases exist in 49 states and require all prescribing physicians and pharmacies to enter controlled substances into the system.

“The origins of prescription drug monitoring programs are a result of the nationwide prescription drug abuse epidemic that’s been labeled by the CDC,” PDMP Director Chad Zadrazil said. “Information inputted into the system includes data about the patient, information about the drug and prescriber, and information about the dispenser or pharmacy.”

Investigators reviewed the PDMP records for controlled substance prescriptions dispensed from New Berlin HealthMart Pharmacy from January 1, 2014 through April 28, 2015.

According to the search warrant, the pharmacy’s owner filled prescriptions using the names of real doctors who in most cases, had never heard of the patient.

In two cases, the patient and doctor names were real, but the doctor stated he/she did not prescribe that individual the medication that was dispensed at New Berlin Pharmacy.

“We rely on pharmacies to submit accurate information to us,” Zadrazil said. “They are required by law to submit accurate information.

DEA agents claim the pharmacy owner also represented himself as a pharmacist, when he’s only a certified pharmacy technician.

According to the search warrant, the owner admitted dispensing prescriptions without authorization and committing insurance fraud by double-billing insurance companies.

TODAY’S TMJ4 will not release the name of the pharmacy owner since no charges have been filed.

Authorities say the criminal case will likely be turned over to the district attorney for review in the next two to three weeks.

Background on the PDMP:

Police and federal agents can request data at anytime from the PDMP, but it's meant to be a research tool for doctors and pharmacists who want to see what a previous patient has been prescribed.

Current policy requires doctors and pharmacies to enter patient information into the system within 7 days.

Next year, new regulations will require that information be inputted the next business day.

While the PDMP system is meant to crack down on “doctor shoppers,” the system did help investigators in looking into “suspicious” prescriptions filled at New Berlin HealthMart Pharmacy.

“We do quarterly audits for pharmacy compliance to make sure they are submitting data that meets our requirements in a timely manner,” Zadrazil said.

The PDMP is overseen by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.