Pharmacy owner admits faking opioid prescriptions

A New Jersey pharmacy owner has pleaded guilty to filling fraudulent and counterfeit prescriptions for drugs like oxycodone and codeine in exchange for cash.

Hillside resident Anthony Duncan (61) – also a licensed pharmacist – admitted one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances

Duncan owned and operated Parkway Central Pharmacy in East Orange, New Jersey, and filled bogus prescriptions for opioid drugs "knowing that they were false or counterfeit and that he was prohibited from dispensing controlled substances without a valid prescription," according to a Department of Justice statement.

He was generally paid $4 for every oxycodone 30mg pill; $2 for every oxycodone and acetaminophen combination product; and $10 for every eight ounces of cough syrup containing codeine, it said.

The scam was done at scale, with Duncan illegally selling one conspirator at least 47,000 tablets of oxycodone 30 mg; 46,000 tablets of oxycodone and acetaminophen combination product, and 56,000 mls of cough syrup containing codeine.

A back of the envelope calculation suggests that he would have made around $275,000 from that illegal activity alone. The scam went on for four years, from November 2014 to November 2018, during which Duncan filled more than 1,100 fake prescriptions.

The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and codeine is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1m, or twice the gross profit to the defendant, whichever is greater.

Duncan is scheduled to be sentenced on November 8.

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