The U.S. Justice Department announced on Monday that a major distributor of pharmaceutical drugs in Puerto Rico has been instructed to pay $12 million for failing to report numerous suspicious orders for controlled substances.
Drogueria Betances, LLC has been charged with failing to report a minimum of 655 fentanyl orders and a minimum of 113 oxycodone orders between 2016 and June 2019. The Department noted that these orders were deemed suspicious due to their frequency and quantity.
Officials stated that the company is facing allegations of numerous record-keeping infractions and failure to submit reports of its distribution activities to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. These infractions, which include transactions involving opioids, were said to have occurred between May 2017 and July 2018.
Furthermore, the company was mandated to enhance its adherence protocol and notify the DEA of any questionable orders, among other requirements.
In a statement, Drogueria Betances acknowledged paying the fine and committing to improve its reporting system for distributed controlled substances. However, they denied accusations of having an inadequate system for monitoring suspicious orders.
In a statement, the president of the company, Juan Carlos Hernández, stated that over the years they have invested millions of dollars in technology and external guidance to ensure adherence to laws and regulations regarding controlled medications.
He stated that Drogueria Betances was never accused of supplying controlled substances to unauthorized individuals or entities.
The U.S. government has lodged a complaint following a significant increase in opioid-related deaths in the U.S. territory of 3.2 million people. The number of fatalities rose from 19 in 2017 to 521 in 2021, according to the most recent data.