|The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Oklahoma|
After admitting to more than a thousand pharmaceutical violations, a pharmacy that sold execution drugs to Missouri auctioned off its assets last week after it defaulted on its loans. The sale is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
The Apothecary Shoppe, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, mixed execution drugs for at least three executions held in Missouri in 2013 and 2014. A year after its identity became public, the pharmacy faced investigations by state and federal regulators that revealed “significant” violations of pharmacy regulations, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The pharmacy issued a recall on some of the drugs it made, and was forced to shut down its mixing practice for a time. Its license is currently on probation.
In March 2015, a year after its role in selling lethal drugs had been revealed, the Food and Drug Administration inspected the pharmacy. Two investigators found questionable potency, disinfecting and sterilization practices. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, an FDA official told BuzzFeed News in late February that the investigation is ongoing.
A month after the FDA inspection, however, investigators with the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy arrived at the facility as part of a routine inspection. Over the next few months, the three investigators would find hundreds of violations of pharmacy guidelines at the facility.
While inspectors were there, they observed pharmacy techs wearing no masks or goggles while compounding drugs. Pharmacists were storing drugs in a blue Igloo cooler so they wouldn’t have to walk to the proper refrigeration unit in another room; regulators seized the blue cooler and the drugs it was storing. The pharmacy was extending the expiration date on its drugs without proper testing or documentation, and used questionable sterilization practices.
Compounding pharmacies, unlike drug manufacturers, mix drugs based on specific prescriptions. They are lightly regulated by the FDA, and the products they make have a significantly higher failure rate than manufactured drugs.
State regulators caught the Apothecary Shoppe making a testosterone injection without a legitimate medical need — and said the drug should have instead been made by manufacturers. The head pharmacist, David Kent Johnson, told the board regulators that he would stop making that drug immediately.
The investigators also discovered unexplained irregularities in a lab certification. In a complaint, the board noted that in the first certification report they received indicated the pharmacy was operating without its lab being certified for a time.
In total, the pharmacy admitted guilt to an astounding 1,892 violations of state pharmacy guidelines.
Source: Buzzfeed, Chric McDaniel, April 22, 2016