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Pharmacy Times Staff
Published Online: Friday, June 10, 2016


Make sure to check out these not-to-be-missed pharmacy headlines.

5. FDA Operation Takes Action Against Illegal Online Pharmacies
More than 4400 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous and unapproved drugs were recently targeted in an operation by the FDA, law enforcement, and international agencies.

Operation Pangea IX, which is led by INTERPOL, aimed to curb the sale and distribution of counterfeit or illegal drugs online and take those products out of the supply chain.

More than 100 of the sites sold the chemical 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) as a weight-loss product. The chemical is often used as a dye, wood preserver, and herbicide, but it has never been approved by the FDA as a drug.

In addition to the problems posed by taking unapproved or dangerous drugs, the FDA cautioned that illegal online pharmacies may also commit credit card fraud or identity theft. Patients may also be more vulnerable to computer viruses.

4. Pharmacist and Physician Found Guilty of Controlled Substance Conspiracy
A pharmacist has been found guilty of conspiring with a physician to provide oxycodone to patients who weren’t treated or examined, or who didn’t have valid prescriptions.

Srinivasa Raju, 44, was a pharmacist at Bottle Hill Pharmacy in Madison, New Jersey. After a 3-week trial, a jury found him guilty of third-degree counts of conspiracy and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, according to New Jersey’s attorney general’s office.

Vincent A. Esposito, 58, also from Madison, New Jersey, is the physician involved in this case. Esposito, who was also a borough councilman, pleaded guilty in 2013 to second-degree conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. He has surrendered his medical license, according to the attorney general’s office.

The scheme involved Raju providing oxycodone to some patients who didn’t have prescriptions in exchange for cash. Esposito’s role was to hide this activity by writing prescriptions at the end of the month, according to the state.

Raju provided oxycodone without a prescription to a source for the DEA 3 different times. The attorney general’s office added that the pharmacist did this with the understanding that the source was a drug dealer.

Raju also gave oxycodone to an undercover DEA agent, who used 1 blank prescription and 2 fake prescriptions. The pharmacist also used fake labels on the oxycodone bottles to try to disguise his actions.

3. OTC Antacid Products Containing Aspirin May Cause Serious Bleeding, FDA Warns
Pharmacists and patients should be reminded of the serious bleeding risk linked to the use of OTC aspirin-containing antacid products for heartburn, acid indigestion, or upset stomach.

Alka-Seltzer Original, Bromo Seltzer, Medique Medi Seltzer, Picot Plus Effervescent, Vida Mia Pain Relief, Winco Foods Effervescent Antacid and Pain Relief, Zee-Seltzer Antacid and Pain Reliever, and their generic equivalents are some of the products that may cause serious bleeding, the FDA warned.

Although the labels of these antacid products have warned consumers about related bleeding risks since 2009, the FDA stated that it has continued to receive reports of serious issues. Its Adverse Event Reporting System database reported 8 cases of serious bleeding associated with these products since 2009. The affected patients, all of whom had risk factors for experiencing serious bleeding events, were hospitalized.

Patients should consider whether they can select a product without aspirin to relieve symptoms related to heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour or upset stomach.

2. 5 Things Pharmacists Should Know About Dabbing
For some, dabbing is a dance popularized by pro athletes like Cam Newton and LeBron James. For others, it refers to using a potent marijuana extract.

Here are 5 things pharmacists should know about the potentially less familiar form of dabbing that is increasingly a public health concern:
1. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-concentrated substance is yellow and looks like honey or butter.
2. The concentrate can have THC levels anywhere between 40% and 80%.
3. The marijuana concentrate is often placed in e-cigarettes or vaporizers.
4. The long-term effects of dabbing are unknown.
5. One method to manufacture marijuana concentrate can lead to explosions.

1. Pharmacy Owner Fatally Shoots Would-Be Robber
A man walked into a pharmacy thinking he’d be able to tie up staff and rob the store, but the pharmacy owner thwarted his plans by allegedly killing him.

Police said the unnamed pharmacist armed himself as he saw a man walk up to his pharmacy with a shotgun.

“He has a good camera system, so he actually saw the subject come into the store with the shotgun,” Lieutenant Henry Ward of the Falls Township Police Department told ABC. “He was prepared for the armed intruder.”

Sources told ABC that zip ties were found on the suspect’s body, which suggests that the man was planning on restraining whoever was inside the pharmacy. Sources also said the suspect “intended to clear out the pharmacy.”