by: Rachel Stockman Updated:ATLANTA —
Federal and state agents raided several metro Atlanta pharmacies.
The Georgia Drug and Narcotics Agency, through the state pharmacy board, issued emergency license suspensions for West End Pharmacy in Atlanta and Candler Pharmacy in Decatur.
According to the order, pharmacists filled hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions and couldn’t account for thousands of prescription pills.
“There was a large number of controlled substances written by a podiatrist,” the order noted.
“This was fairly large operation. I haven’t seen one quite this large in many years,” said Rick Allen, the Director of the Georgia Drug and Narcotics Agency.
Investigators said the pharmacies, all owned by the same people, gave out more than 8,000 pills with fraudulent prescriptions. One of the most egregious was for bottles of prescription cough syrup known as the “purple drank,” according to investigators. The drink is popular in the rap community and consists of promethazine and codeine.
“They can no longer fill prescription, they can no longer have drugs,” said Allen.
Customers gathered as federal and state agents pulled boxes out of the West End Pharmacy on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard in Southwest Atlanta. Many came to the owner’s defense.
“Whatever these people are saying they are doing, they aren’t doing that,” said Antonia Johnson, a customer outside the story.
An attorney for the stores said she could not comment. The pharmacies can appeal the suspension, but are prohibited at this time from filling prescriptions.