A drug company has agreed to pay $50 million in a settlement with the U.S. government relating to a troubling form of potential elder abuse that is seen at many nursing homes; the illegal handing out of medications without a prescription.
Omnicare recently agreed to the settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for its violation of the Controlled Substances Act, which regulates how prescription narcotic and psychoactive drugs are administered. The DOJ had alleged that Omnicare regularly dispensed prescription drugs and controlled substances to patients at long-term care facilities who did not have proper prescriptions.
It also alleges the company gave out drugs to patients that did not have common information - name of the drug, dosing instructions – and did not properly document when it handed out partially filled prescriptions, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The company was motivated to act this way to increase its profits.
"That is why the regulatory controls that are in place, which make sure that doctors are always in the loop when these decisions are made, are so vitally important," said Steven Dettelbach, a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Handing out medications without proper prescriptions is something that has been previously documented as a somewhat common occurrence at nursing homes. There have been a number of instances in which drugs are used off-label and without a prescription to treat conditions they are not intended for and result in terrible consequences.