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DEA Suspends North Spokane Pharmacy's License | News

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DEA Suspends North Spokane Pharmacy's License
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The Drug Enforcement Administration has suspended the license of a North Spokane pharmacy, leaving their customers scrambling to find other pharmacies to fill their prescriptions.

The Bates Pharmacy has been in Spokane since 1942 and competes with larger corporate stores with good customer service and home deliveries. However, according to company officials, last November the DEA did an audit on Bates and found problems with the way it handles controlled substances.

For example, the pharmacy was letting its customers return unused portions of their prescriptions and then destroying them at the waste-to-energy plant.

Pharmacy managers worked to fix the problem and in a statement issued Wednesday said, "upon their (DEA) recommendation, we immediately corrected deficiencies and streamlined methods to ensure compliance."

Bates officials say the DEA also felt the pharmacy needed to better protect its controlled substances from theft, particularly during deliveries. Bates says it tightened up security but on Friday the DEA showed up again and seized all of the narcotics in their inventory.

The pharmacy says, "in spite of our efforts and good faith, the DEA has suspended our license to dispense controlled substances. We are surprised by this action."

Bates customers are surprised too as now hundreds of them need to find a new pharmacy to fill their narcotic prescriptions and Bates is trying to help saying, "we are working with local pharmacies to ensure the needs of our patients are met and they have access to critical medications."

DEA officials said Wednesday they couldn't discuss anything about their enforcement action at Bates Pharmacy as their case remains under investigation.

Bates officials say they are not suspected of black market sales or allowing drugs to fall into the wrong hands. Bates continues to fill non-narcotic prescriptions and selling other medical supplies.

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