Judge rebukes DEA in Florida pharmacy case

December 2, 2014

Back in November, the West Chase Compounding Pharmacy in Tampa, Fla. was unceremoniously closed after Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized its controlled substances and terminated its legal authorization to sell controlled substances.

Back in November, the West Chase Compounding Pharmacy in Tampa, Fla. was unceremoniously closed after Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized its controlled substances and terminated its legal authorization to sell controlled substances.

However, the pharmacy recently resumed sales of controlled substances after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order allowing it to resume operations until a full hearing can be held.

Related: DEA official blames pharmacists, doctors for pain-med denials

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven called the actions of the federal agents preposterous, criticizing the agency for violating rules and improperly caring for seized property, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune. “Procedure wasn’t followed,” Judge Scriven reportedly said. “Even if they thought [the pharmacy owner] was a drug dealer, which there’s no evidence on this record, they didn’t follow the rules.”

An attorney for the DEA, Christopher John Emden, said the pharmacy did not have proper registration to sell controlled substances because the pharmacy was sold and the new owner did not follow proper registration procedures. DEA officials said they were concerned because they did not have information about the new owner. DEA officials would not disclose any information regarding the agency’s investigation of the pharmacy.

Attorneys for the pharmacy successfully argued that the DEA was not allowed to stop it from operating without notice unless there was a finding of imminent danger to the public.

“I don’t understand why we’re even here,” Judge Scriven said. “This is preposterous. There’s just no basis for an imminent danger finding on this record.”

Judge Scriven also criticized DEA agents for not refrigerating some medications it seized. “It seems someone missed a step at the DEA,” she said.