Drug company Omnicare Inc. will pay the U.S. government $50 million dollars to settle complaints that it handed out medication to nursing home patients all over the country without prescriptions signed by doctors. In exchange for this settlement, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will allow Omnicare to continue dispensing medication.
According to the Omnicare website, Omnicare is the “the largest provider of pharmacy and related services to senior communities across the county.” Omnicare operates pharmacies that distribute medications to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other health care centers that care for 1.4 million patients all across the nation.
The DEA investigated complaints that Omnicare routinely handed out narcotics and other medications to residents of long-term care facilities without proper prescriptions. Omnicare also gave out these controlled substances using prescriptions that were missing key information, such as dosage, quantity, and other vital information.
Prescription drug abuse is at an all time high in this country, and overmedication of nursing home residents is a national epidemic. In a long-term care facility situation, where patients are often not aware of what pills they are taking, this irresponsible and dangerous practice leads to suffering and death. Overmedication can be intentional, used by the nursing home to keep a patient quiet, or unintentionally, through negligence and failure to communicate among staff members regarding medication. But either way, overmedication IS nursing home abuse, and an alarming number of nursing homes use chemical restraint to control their patients.
If someone you love has been harmed by overmedication, a nursing home abuse attorney can help you sort through the stressful experience and pursue justice for your loved one.
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