WASHINGTON (WIVB) — The United States Department of Justice has filed a complaint against Rite Aid, accusing the company of knowingly filling unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances. They say this occurred between May 2014 and June 2019.

“We allege that Rite Aid filled hundreds of thousands of prescriptions that did not meet legal requirements,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “According to our complaint, Rite Aid’s pharmacists repeatedly filled prescriptions for controlled substances with obvious red flags, and Rite Aid intentionally deleted internal notes about suspicious prescribers.”

The Department of Justice said Rite Aid violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The company has more than 2,200 pharmacies across 17 states, the Department of Justice says.

“The Justice Department is using every tool at our disposal to confront the opioid epidemic that is killing Americans and shattering communities across the country,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. “That includes holding corporations, like Rite Aid, accountable for knowingly filling unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances.”

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“Whistleblowers Andrew White, Mark Rosenberg, and Ann Wegelin, who all previously worked for Rite Aid at various pharmacies, filed an action in October 2019 under the qui tam provisions of the FCA. Those provisions authorize private parties to sue on behalf of the United States for false claims and share in any recovery,” the Department of Justice says.

The Department of Justice says tips and complaints about potential fraud and abuse can be reported by calling the Department of Health and Human Services at 800-447-8477.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.