Walgreens reaches agreement with DEA

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday reached an agreement settling DEA concerns relating to the distribution and dispensing of controlled substances. The company released the following statement from Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness:

“Today we reached an agreement with the DEA and the Department of Justice that settles and resolves all administrative and civil matters arising out of DEA’s concerns relating to the distribution and dispensing of controlled substances. We have worked closely with DEA over the past several months to reach this agreement, which concludes the DEA’s review of our operations and provides direction going forward.

“As the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S., we are fully committed to doing our part to prevent prescription drug abuse. We also will continue to advocate for solutions that involve all parties – including leaders in the community, physicians, pharmacies, distributors and regulators – to play a role in finding practical solutions that combat the abuse of controlled substances and ensure patient access to critical medications.

“As part of the agreement with DEA, and our continuing desire to work with DEA to combat prescription drug abuse, we have identified specific compliance measures – many of which Walgreens has already taken – to enhance our ordering processes and inventory systems, to provide our team members with the tools, training and support they need to ensure the appropriate dispensing of controlled substances and to improve collaboration across the industry.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Walgreens will pay $80 million, which the company reserved in previous quarters, including $25 million in its most recent quarter ended May 31. The company expects the total impact of the agreement and other associated costs to be 4 to 6 cents per share in its third fiscal quarter.

The agreement resolves all pending litigation and requires Walgreens to surrender its DEA registrations at only six of its more than 800 Florida pharmacies until May 2014 and at its Jupiter distribution center until September 2014. Walgreens has already taken steps to ensure that there is no disruption to the supply of medications to our pharmacies, the company stated.