Lansdowne Pharmacy shutdown

Shane Todd, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Division Office, stands by the doors of Lansdowne Pharmacy as it's shut down indefinitely by DEA and Loudoun County Sheriff's Office officials.

A task force led by the Drug Enforcement Administration forced independently-owned Lansdowne Pharmacy to indefinitely cease drug sales Thursday after the business was suspected of illicit opioid distribution.

Virginia State Police, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office were part of the task force assigned to investigate the pharmacy.

Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) told the Times-Mirror the investigation has gone on for several years and that the pharmacy — which is located at 19465 Deerfield Avenue in Leesburg — is suspected of "improper, illegal dispensing of opioid-type drugs," including hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl.

"The investigation involves the unusual combination of drugs being prescribed, people coming from outside areas to get the drugs out of this particular location," he said.

The shutdown is an administrative action by the Board of Pharmacy. Law enforcement has not made any related arrests — "at least not yet," Chapman said.

According to DEA group supervisor Jose Roman, the number of opioid prescriptions Lansdowne Pharmacy has been filling is about twice the average number filled by pharmacies nationwide.

"We learned that there were individuals coming in from as far as 300 miles away, driving sometimes six, eight hours to this area to get prescriptions at this particular pharmacy," Roman said.

"The DEA's priority is [to target] opioid trafficking, whether it's through illicit opioids coming across the border in the form of fentanyl or in cases like this with pharmacies ignoring red flags and not showing due diligence with serving their customers," Shane Todd, DEA assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Division Office, added.

While Lansdowne Pharmacy will be prohibited from selling drugs until further notice, Chapman said customers will still be able to purchase other products in its inventory.

"[Authorities] are going to collect all the drugs out of there, shut this down and effectively put them out of business --at least for now," the sheriff said. "It's great because we all worked together ... to bring an end to this, as much as we can."

One hundred-thirty Americans die from an opioid overdose on an average day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids are currently the leading driver in overdose deaths and were involved in 47,600 such fatalities nationwide in 2017 — more than two-thirds of all overdose deaths that year.

"We know how bad the opioid problem is out there, so whatever we can do, whether it's through criminal indictments, whether it's through administrative action, whatever it takes to bring an end to this problem, we try to do," Chapman said.

(22) comments

English Garden

The “Opioid Crackdown” has gone too far. First drug companies pushed their products and got tens of thousands of people addicted. Now when someone has surgery, their doctor is no longer allowed to phone in a narcotic with the proper DEA information. The pendulum has swung too far the other way. There needs to be a happy medium. Large companies like Walgreens, CVS, Safeway and Harris Teeter are in CYA mode. Your doctor has no power to override their rules. It’s insane. I was just told Harris Teeter and CVS will no longer do vacation over rides. What happens then?! That’s absurd. The DEA needs to monitor these things but not allowing people to pick up peace options when their PHYSICIAN wants them to is insane. I don’t want my medical care supervised by a pharmacist. This has gone too far and for people in chronic pain it’s a nightmare. My mother just had need replacement done and she ran out of pills. We had to beg the doctor to come in on the weekend to write a prescription because Harris Teeter in Ashburn wouldn’t take it over the phone with the doctors permission. She was in agony for hours. What is going on!? This isn’t right. Protecting people is one thing. These new rules are taking all power away from the doctors. I know one doctor who doesn’t want to take patients with chronic conditions anymore because the DEA is all over him. He’s an exceptional doctor in Reston and he would NEVER give anyone more than a month supply of anything. He said it’s turned into a witch hunt and they are coming after doctors for doing the right thing. There are VERY few “Elvis Doctors” left anymore. Don’t go after good doctors who have an obligation to ensure their patients aren’t in pain.

amerigirl

You nailed that one. Many of the wrong people have become pawns in that game.

Fast87

Its bad DEA and such don’t care about real ppl in need and cutting off medication and patients but this place had other problems that leads to closing it from what I heard they had under table business and handmade stuff but this make it bad for everyone. Ppl die by driving or drinking alcohol (higher number) and like one very smart person said earlierppl OD from opioid but they don’t say what% from heroine and street junks not a good doctor who give you the needed amount of medication made by known companies and seel at big stores like Giants Safeway Rite aid wall green and on and on

amerigirl

People also die if they can't get their heart medication, or insulin, blood pressure meds etc. Those deaths would be premeditated if someone just took them away from them. They need to be held accountable for the bad things they have done, for sure, but the innocent people who rely on them should not have to suffer. When someplace closes it is hard to have all prescriptions transferred and harder for other pharmacies to have the drugs on hand that are needed. There has to be another way

amerigirl

The comment that scares me is "[Authorities] are going to collect all the drugs out of there, shut this down and effectively put them out of business --. What happens to the people who have prescriptions there? Some medicines can't be interrupted without consequences that could be life threatening.

daoud

I hear you. I am one of those folks. I see a psychiatrist in the same building and rely on a prescription that the local pharmacies never seem to carry or it's on backorder.

Schrdrs132

As a person that deals with chronic pain.. been through 5 back surgeries it’s alarming that “they” keep using the term opiate over dose- what they don’t tell you is most of the overdoses are from Heroin overdoses. they need to distinguish between heroin and fentanyl and oxycodone... just sayin

BobOhneiserEsq

The coordination of federal, state and local investigatory assets for the protection of the pubic is exactly why Mike Spak started the Loudoun Crime Commission which I was proud to have been on the board. Mike Chapman has shown over the years that although he is a politician and holds his job via election he is actively "WORKING" and not a political placeholder which is likely the case if a "ruling" partisan group rewards . their party favorites with plum jobs. If this sounds harsh do some diligence and look at all the assignments and new jobs offered by LCPS and the BOS then check who is a donors or a party loyalist versus someone uniquely qualified. :-)

LoudounSucks

The only difference between the guy slinging on the corner and these guys is a lease and a college degree.

btm11

"According to DEA group supervisor Jose Roman, the number of opioid prescriptions Lansdowne Pharmacy has been filling is about twice the average number filled by pharmacies nationwide."

Could it be because this pharmacy is located in a medical office building with lots of doctors' offices, rather than in a shopping center? This isn't a place one goes to buy diapers or non-prescription medications. Not allowing it to dispense prescriptions will likely ruin the business.

Chris McHale

btm - the name of the program is "Diversion". It reflects legal drugs being diverted for illegal purposes. When a pharmacy is presented with a prescription it is entered into a tracking system. It reflects the Dr. that issued the prescription, the type of drug, the patients name and the pharmacy issuing the drug. Then their are DEA contract analysts that review these factors for Dr.s over prescription and pharmacies over dispensing. Factors such as the one you mention is taken into account. Time is alotted so as to avoid a 1x anomaly. In the end the numbers can be challenged by the pharmacy owner. However there is usually evidence reflective of wrong doing. Such as patients traveling such distances to pickup a prescription they probable could pick up in thier own area.

AreYouKidding

The crack down on opioids has led to them being almost impossible to get in some parts of the country by those who truly need them and have a prescription for them. This includes parts of states neighboring VA. Given that serving patients that have traveled a long distance is not necessarily a sign of any wrong doing. If they really had proof of wrong doing there would have been criminal charges filed along with the closing of the pharmacy.

amerigirl

Areyoukidding, Since that is a problem don't you think they should look at which doctors are prescribing the heavier drugs and find out why?

Fast87

No I heard they have problems that eyes dont see like after closing they go and take care of their own customers and worse like add extra for extra cash or befor fill you proscription they had you few and on and on owner was dirty that was the problem not DEA nore this location cared about real patients,cant say how many problem they had and how many ppl they turned into real junkies, btw owner has few houses each over few Millions! They don’t come by selling blood pressure 💊

Pre-yuppieLoudouner

But...but...Landsdowne is so Chauncy Uppercrust New -And-Improved Loudoun!

monavis

whats this trial by press? just because DEA and other law enforcement say they are guilty isn't a conviction. I'm sure they want you to believe they were breaking the law.

amerigirl

yes, and did they take into account that there are 5 retirement communities in that area and may seniors use more drugs than younger people?

daoud

That's the good ole corrupt feds for you.

More Cowbell

No mention of owners(investors) of the business. And why did it take so long to shutdown?

Fast87

Owner was too smart in a bad way! One time he changed his location then used other named ( pharmacist ) to be in a safe side but he was a pharmacist himself! I know this cause this happened 10-12 miles from my location and in short he was a dirty money hungry.

Ellie Lockwood

No arrests??? Puzzling.

Chris McHale

A job done well.

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