WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A long-time Wilmington pharmacy is accused of turning a blind-eye and ignoring red flags while filling powerful and often-abused controlled substances.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina filed the complaint against Seashore Drugs, former owner and pharmacist John D. Waggett and pharmacist Billy W. King.
“For hundreds and hundreds of prescriptions, Seashore Drugs, Waggett, and King ignored the warning signs of illegality,” the complaint reads. “As a result, they shirked their responsibility as the last line of defense between extraordinarily powerful and deadly drugs and the people seeking them.”
According to the document, these prescriptions often involved highly-abused opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, along with other drugs like diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and carisoprodol that, when taken with opioids, heighten their potential for abuse and adverse events.
Prosecutors say over time, Seashore developed a reputation in the Wilmington pharmacy community as a place that filled the prescriptions other pharmacies refused, which attracted drug seekers.
According to the complaint, people with known histories of prescription drug abuse filled their opioid prescriptions there. At least one customer, who routinely filled high-strength and high-quantity oxycodone prescriptions at Seashore that were written by a Florida physician, had been treated multiple times for heroin overdose.
In one example, Seashore filled 238 controlled-substance prescriptions for a patient known as ‘Individual A’ between January of 2013 and January of 2019. Individual A’s prescriptions raised numerous red flags, including extensive numbers of prescriptions written by a distant out-of-state doctor, extremely high quantities and strengths of opioids, suspicious drug combinations, doctor shopping, and the filling of opioids for Individual A’s family member.
It’s a reputation that new owner Nirav Patel is trying to repair.
“We have no connections with the complaint, both those individuals are no longer associated with Seashore Drugs,”says Patel. “We have everything in place to make sure the patients are taken care of and to make sure that we do the right thing to serve the community.”
Prosecutors seek civil penalties and permanent injunctive relief to hold Seashore Drugs, Waggett, and King accountable for their actions and to prevent further violations of the Controlled Substances Act.