What do nursing homes do with unused prescription drugs after a resident passes away? According to a former manager turned informant, at least two pharmacies in Western Washington collect the unused drugs from the nursing homes, repackage them and resell them!
News reports recently released say the Federal Food & Drug Administration is investigating the Scrips LTC Pharmacy in Seattle and the Custom Prescription Shoppe in Bellingham, Washington. Both are owned by the same company.
According to a report to the FDA by a former manager described in the Seattle Post, pharmacy delivery people would go around to client nursing homes and medical boarding houses and collect the left over prescriptions of residents who had passed away. The drugs would be taken back to the pharmacies where they would be repackaged and resold as new drugs.
If true, this is highly illegal and the pharmacies will face heavy consequences if they are found guilty.
Authorities claim the pharmacy owners were looking to profit twice from the scheme. Once for the first sale, and again on a resale to other patients. When the pills are paid by Medicare, this would be Medicare fraud. According to the informant cited in the news coverage, the pharmacy was charging government insurers full price for drugs acquired for free as samples, too.
King 5 reports one story that is pretty damning for the pharmacy:
Given these descriptions of the process of collecting, sorting and reselling, the pharmacy would not know the expiration dates, batch numbers, or other important tracking information for the medications.