SAVANNAH, GA: A Savannah-area pharmacy and its pharmacist have agreed to settle federal claims that they unlawfully dispensed controlled substances pursuant to prescriptions by a notorious pill-mill doctor.
Under the settlement, Greeson Rx, LLC and Joshua Z. Greeson, of Brooklet, Ga., will pay up to $2.22 million in civil penalties, said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. Greeson Rx, LLC operates Pooler Pharmacy in Pooler, Ga.
“Our office continues to relentlessly pursue those who illegally and inappropriately prescribe and dispense addictive drugs in the midst of an opioid addiction and overdose crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “These actions vividly illustrate that hefty penalties are the cost for these violations in the Southern District.”
This settlement is the latest in a series of actions taken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to combat the ongoing opioid crisis, including the prosecution of Dr. Frank Bynes, Jr., who was sentenced in February 2020 to serve 240 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial on 13 counts of Illegal Dispensation of Controlled Substances and three counts of Health Care Fraud. The United States also recently announced a judgment against Darien Pharmacy, of Darien, Ga., and settlements with Chip’s Discount Drugs, of Hazlehurst, Ga., and Gordon’s Pharmacy, of Bloomingdale, Ga., as well as with pharmacists at each of those three pharmacies.
The judgment and settlements against those pharmacies and pharmacists, together with the settlement with Greeson Rx, LLC and Joshua Z. Greeson, call for payments that could exceed a combined $7 million. The United States also previously announced the prosecutions of Ray Dixon, who was the pharmacist at Fulghum Drugs in Baxley, Ga., and Janice Colter, who was the pharmacist at Darien Pharmacy in Darien, Ga. Both Dixon and Colter have pled guilty to felony charges and await sentencing.
According to court filings involved with Darien Pharmacy and Chip’s Discount Drugs, those pharmacies were alleged to have dispensed hundreds of thousands of units of controlled substances prescribed by Bynes over the course of several years, despite obvious evidence Bynes was operating a pill mill.
Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said “The mission of DEA’s Office of Diversion Control is to prevent, detect and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceutical and listed chemicals from legitimate sources. In this case, DEA Diversion investigators did an outstanding job of uncovering this pharmacist’s and this pharmacy’s complicit actions to improperly dispense opioids and other controlled substances, which ultimately led to this monetary settlement. DEA will continue to work hand in hand with its law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to make sure healthcare providers are abiding by mandatory regulations.”
Any individuals who have information about illegal prescribing by physicians, dispensing by pharmacies, or other diversion, and any individuals who believe they were victims of Bynes, should call the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422 and ask for the Opioid Coordinator.
Dispensing drugs in violation of the Controlled Substances Act carries a civil penalty of up to $64,820 per violation. Claims resolved by civil settlements are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. Investigations continue as to others arising out of these announced actions.
Joshua Z. Greeson and Greeson Rx, LLC were investigated by the DEA, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan A. Porter and Bradford C. Patrick represented the United States.