A Casper grocery store company, on behalf of a pharmacy it owns, agreed to pay a $1 million fine in a civil case alleging it repeatedly filled excessive narcotics prescriptions, according to a news release from the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office on Tuesday.

The case of the Osco Pharmacy 1706 CY Ave., arose during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation of former Casper Dr. Shakeel Kahn, who was convicted on 21 counts relating to running a multi-state prescription drug conspiracy in May and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in August.

Albertsons, LLC, which owns and operates Osco, agreed on Jan. 21 to pay $1 million to resolve the allegations that it had committed numerous violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

The settlement agreement avoids further litigation, but is not an admission of liability by Albertsons, or a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded, according to the news release.

“This case is an example of how we must fight prescription drug abuse on both the supply and demand side,” U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen said in the news release.

“We not only focus on users who seek prescription pills for illicit purposes, but also on doctors who may abuse their prescribing authority, and pharmacies who fail to exercise diligence in monitoring prescriptions as required by law," Klaassen said.

The case grew from the investigation of Kahn who prescribed large quantities of narcotics, mostly oxycodone, that resulted in the death of an Arizona woman, dispensing and distributing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose, conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crimes, and other offenses.

Investigators learned some Casper-area pharmacies had a part in filling Kahn's prescriptions to his clients.

The news release did not indicate whether other pharmacies in the Casper area have been under investigation.

The Controlled Substances Act requires pharmacies to verify that each prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose. The CSA prohibits a pharmacy from dispensing controlled substances in line with an illegitimate or invalid prescription.

An audit of Osco Pharmacy No. 60 revealed a number of alleged violations between Oct. 15, 2015, and Feb. 28, 2017. Investigators found 128 instances of patients filling prescriptions for unusually large quantities and dosages of narcotics; patients using multiple pharmacies to fill prescriptions; or third parties filling prescriptions for out-of-state patients. They also found record-keeping violations.

DEA Cheyenne gent David Tyree said in the news release that the DEA intends to hold the medical and pharmaceutical communities responsible for violations, and protect Wyoming residents.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA Cheyenne Resident Office Tactical Diversion Squad, in conjunction with the DEA Salt Lake City TDS.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Levi Martin represented the federal government.

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