Wichita Pharmacy Owner Indicted in Rx Opioid Case

August 14, 2018 - 4:49 pm
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A Wichita pharmacist was indicted today on charges of unlawfully dispensing prescription opioids, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

45-year-old Ebube Otuonye of Bel Aire, Kan., pharmacist and owner of Neighborhood Pharmacy at 2251 E. 21st North in Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of conspiracy unlawfully to dispense prescription drugs, one count of unlawfully dispensing prescription drugs, and two counts of health care fraud.

The indictment alleges Otuonye unlawfully distributed 21,681 tablets of Oxycodone, 48,683 tablets of Methadone, 18,049 tablets of Hydromorphone and 7,890 tablets of Alprazolam. The prescriptions, written by Wichita physician Steven R. Henson, were issued outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, the indictment alleges. Henson is set for trial Oct. 2 on charges of unlawfully prescribing prescription drugs.

Today’s indictment alleges Otuonye filled large numbers of prescriptions in return for cash payments. He filled prescriptions for multiple patients presenting at one time or back-to-back and patients from the same family with identical prescriptions. The large quantities should have put him on notice as a pharmacist of the potential danger to customers of abuse or overdose. The indictment alleges Otuonye filled prescriptions that one of his fellow pharmacists refused to fill. It also alleges Otuonye posted a sign at the pharmacy telling customers that they had to have three non-narcotic prescriptions filled in order to have their narcotic prescriptions filled.

The indictment alleges Otuonye defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims for illegally filling prescriptions.

The indictment seeks to forfeit more than $122,000 in proceeds from the crimes, as well as Utuonye’s retail pharmacy license and his DEA registration number.

If convicted, Otuonye faces penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison and fines up to $1 million on the drug charges and up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the health care fraud charges. 

 

 

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