After nearly a two-year investigation of an Ormond Beach pharmacist who wrote eight prescriptions doling out more than 1,000 opioid pain pills and anxiety medications, the Florida Department of Health has suspended the license of the medical professional.
Ekaette D. Isemin, 54, was arrested by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on seven charges, ranging from trafficking in oxycodone, the highly addictive painkiller, trafficking in hydromorphone, another opiate, and possession of alprazolam, known as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
She owned Carepoint Pharmacy, 1400 Hand Ave., Ormond Beach, near Daytona Beach, according to the Florida Department of Health, which announced its measures on Sept. 6.
The investigation began on Dec. 12, 2016, and continued through March 6, 2018, according to the suspension order. During that time, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency employed a confidential source, known as D.S., and an undercover DEA agent, known as A.D., who paid cash for their prescriptions and did not use insurance.
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Isemin never required D.S. “to present valid photographic identification before dispensing controlled substances, despite having reason to doubt the validity of the prescriptions, and did not contact the prescribing physician to verify many prescriptions,’’ the order said. Nor did she report any of this to law enforcement officials.
Isemin continued to sell the controlled substances to the informant, even though he had told her “he was selling the controlled substances to unauthorized individuals, and was attempting to obtain prescriptions for higher numbers of controlled substances,” according to the Florida Department of Health.
“Don’t get caught. Whatever you’re doing with it, don’t get caught,” according to the Florida Department of Health’s suspension order.
And she offered advice on how to avoid detection, the agency said.
The cost of her pills also raised concerns among the federal drug investigators.
In one instance, the order says, Isemin charged D.S., the informant, $3,000 for 300 hydromorphone 8 mg tablets. The DEA investigators contacted a Florida pharmacist in the area who told them a normal charge for a cash-paying customer for 100 hydromorphone 8mg tablets would be approximately $250. (For 300 tablets, that would equal $750.)
“A charge of $1,000.00 would be considered “excessive” and “price gouging” by the pharmacist,’’ the order said.
Isemin has bonded out after her May 2 arrest on the drug-trafficking charges, which are still pending, according to the Department of Health.
Her pharmacy, Carepoint Pharmacy, was foreclosed on in April.