Federal agents execute search warrants at several Rite Aid pharmacies

MANSFIELD, Ohio-- Federal and state investigators executed search warrants on Tuesday at five Northeast Ohio pharmacies as part of what appears to be a far-reaching investigation into the practice of dispensing of prescription medications.

Agents with the DEA executed warrants at Rite Aid pharmacies at 332 S. Main Street in Marion, Ohio; 334 West Perkins Avenue in Sandusky; 99 Whittlesey Avenue in Norwalk; 4 Walton Street in Willard; and 1009 Park Avenue in Mansfield.

The Mansfield store remained open on Tuesday although the pharmacy was closed while DEA agents remained on the premises, apparently examining pharmacy records.

An employee at the store who was greeting customers at the pharmacy said the pharmacy was experiencing "computer problems."

But their problems could be more serious than that.

The DEA was not revealing much on Tuesday about the details of the investigation other than to say it related to suspected "irregularities in dispensing practices."

And while no specific details were being released, the agency released a document to FOX 8 News that could provide a glimpse into their concerns.

The document spells out federal law which is very clear about the legal requirement of pharmacies and pharmacists to question the legitimacy of a prescription.

Federal law does not require a pharmacist to dispense a prescription of doubtful, questionable or suspicious origin.

The law, as shared with FOX 8, reads:

"...the pharmacist who deliberately ignores a questionable prescription when there is reason to believe it was not issued for a legitimate medical purpose may be prosecuted along with the issuing practitioner..."

Rite Aid corporate officials released the following to FOX 8:

"Earlier today, representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) visited certain Rite Aid stores.  Rite Aid is cooperating with the DEA and has no further comment at this time.”

If you have any information that could help with the investigation, please email Cleveland.Diversion@usdoj.gov

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