CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The United States Attorney’s Office and Rite Aid Corporation has resolved a criminal investigation in the Southern District of West Virginia regarding Rite Aid’s improper sale of the methamphetamine precursor pseudoephedrine (PSE) between January 2009 and October 2012.
In the settlement, Rite Aid’s accepts full responsibility for the improper sale of the methamphetamine precursor PSE, acknowledges its remedial efforts, ensures future steps to help prevent abuse of pseudoephedrine, and mandates that Rite Aid pay $4 million dollars, which is approximately 80% of its gross sales of pseudoephedrine in West Virginia during the relevant time period, to provide resources for crime victim compensation and treatment of drug addiction.
“Every dollar paid out by Rite Aid is going to stay right here in West Virginia, and not go into the black hole of Washington,” stated U.S. Attorney Stuart.
Bill J. Crouch, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, said, “This funding will support DHHR’s ongoing efforts to strengthen substance abuse treatment programs and ultimately improve the health and well-being of impacted residents across the state.”
DEA’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge David W. Gourley stated, “Even though the opioid crisis has been in the forefront, we will not neglect any investigations of other dangerous drugs which are readily available in the state of West Virginia. Methamphetamine use is on the rise.”
Rite Aid must pay $2.6 million to the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund and $1.4 million to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. As a condition of his agreement to this settlement, the DHHR must use this funding for substance abuse treatment to help fight addiction.
During the investigation, Rite Aid has taken remedial actions to comply with federal law and to help ensure that PSE is sold only to people who have a legitimate need for it. The agreement requires Rite Aid to continue those remedial steps and to take additional action.
Rite Aid now only sells tamper-resistant, single-ingredient PSE products in West Virginia, and Rite Aid will now train its employees on how to identify people who may be purchasing PSE to manufacture methamphetamine and to deny such sales.
Rite Aid will continue requiring stores in West Virginia to store PSE products out of the view of customers to make it easier and safer for store employees to deny suspicious sales, and it will require Rite Aid pharmacists to counsel all customers seeking to purchase PSE.