- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

BEND, Ore. (AP) - A Central Oregon pharmacy has shut its doors amid an investigation by state regulators who say the drug store billed insurers for more expensive drugs and at higher quantities than the ones patients actually received, and sometimes billed for drugs patients did not receive at all.

The Oregon Board of Pharmacy is seeking to shut down Redmond Pharmacy and Compounding Center, fine owner Michael Edmondson for each of more than two dozen alleged violations and revoke Edmondson’s pharmacist license.

However, the pharmacy has closed, the Bend Bulletin reported (http://bit.ly/21FQuSC ). A sign in the pharmacy’s window referred customers to another pharmacy, and the business’ phone number had been disconnected and its website taken down.

Marcus Watt, the board’s executive director, said the board did not order the pharmacy to close while the case is pending.

Edmondson has requested a hearing with the pharmacy board to contest the findings. Watt said the two parties have been in negotiation for months and will likely finalize an agreement at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 17.

Edmondson could not be reached for comment by The Bulletin. The Associated Press left a message at a Redmond phone number associated with Edmondson but did not immediately hear back.

In addition to the accusations of overbilling for drugs, the board says the pharmacy used expired drug ingredients to compound products for patients and then labeled the final products with later expiration dates than they should have had.

On multiple occasions, the pharmacy dispensed generic forms of the cholesterol drug Lipitor, the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Concerta and the topical anti-inflammatory drug FML and billed and labeled the medications as their more expensive brand name versions, according to board documents.

The pharmacy also compounded AndroGel, a commercially available testosterone gel. Compounding pharmacists, who prepare personalized medications for patients in their pharmacies, are legally barred from making drugs that are commercially available.

The board says Edmondson also knowingly employed unlicensed pharmacy technicians and allowed them to work without a pharmacist’s supervision. He also hired typists from an unlicensed operation in the Philippines to enter into his system information for more than 52,000 prescriptions, according to board documents.

The Redmond pharmacy is the second in Central Oregon to be accused of a number of serious violations this year. The board ordered the closure in June of Tumalo Pharmacy in Tumalo after it found it had dispensed controlled substances without prescriptions, filled clients’ prescriptions at other pharmacies without their knowledge and manufactured marijuana products, among other things.

The board’s case against pharmacist Kerri Rosenblatt, who co-owned Tumalo Pharmacy with partner Doug Forbes, is still pending. Her license is suspended in the meantime.

Forbes denied most of the allegations. He said the marijuana product was for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease and was delivered to that patient’s hospice facility.

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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