Detroit Pharmacy Summarily Suspended for Over Dispensing Controlled Substances

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Emal: mediainfo@michigan.gov

November 2, 2017 –The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) served orders suspending the license to dispense controlled substances of Benstar Pharmacy in Detroit and the pharmacist license of Uzoma Benjamin Nwachukwu, who is responsible for Benstar’s compliance with the Public Health Code. 

The Michigan Public Health Code provides for summary suspension of licenses when the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.

Michigan law requires pharmacists to exercise professional judgment and dispense controlled substances in “good faith” by taking into consideration things such as unusual dosages, frequency of prescriptions for the same drug by one prescriber for a large number of patients, and unusual geographic distances between patient, pharmacist, and prescriber. 

LARA served an Administrative Complaint on Benstar, alleging it failed to maintain effective controls against diversion of controlled substances and dispensed controlled substances without good faith.

The complaint also alleges that Benstar was among the highest volume dispensers in Michigan of commonly abused and diverted controlled substances such as oxycodone and codeine/promethazine cough syrup. More than 45 percent of the controlled substances Benstar dispensed in 2016 were based on prescriptions written by physicians later disciplined by LARA for overprescribing.  

Governor Rick Snyder’s Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force called for a more comprehensive enforcement program against licensed health professionals and facilities who participate in overprescribing and over dispensing.  Accordingly, LARA created a permanent Drug Monitoring Section which focuses on identifying, investigating, and pursuing appropriate disciplinary actions against individuals who overprescribe or divert controlled substances, and individuals and facilities who over dispense controlled substances.

For more information of LARA’s regulation of health professions in Michigan, please go to www.michigan.gov/healthlicense.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

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