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Pharmacist charged with making illicit meds

August 1, 2018

The owner and operator of a Kentucky pharmacy near the West Virginia border has been charged in federal court of making custom oxycodone and hydrocodone pills to fill prescriptions for patients at two pill mills in West Virginia and one in Virginia.

A criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston alleges Karl O’Dell, owner and pharmacist-in-charge of Boyd County Pharmacy in Ashland, Kentucky, met with the managers of a West Virginia pain clinic that had locations in Charleston and Beaver in Raleigh County sometime between late 2013 and early 2014.

Court documents allege the patients at the two clinics, and a third in Virginia, were having problems getting prescriptions filled. The prescriptions were not being written for actual medical purposes. The clinic’s name was not provided in court records, but the troubled Hope Clinic had locations in Charleston, Beaver and Wytheville, Virginia, which is the third location mentioned in the criminal information.

O’Dell’s pharmacy was licensed to “compound” pharmaceuticals, meaning it could combine the raw ingredients to manufacture medicines for patients, following federal guidelines.

According to the criminal complaint, O’Dell agreed to make oxycodone and hydrocodone pills for the clinic’s patients, as long as the physicians wrote prescriptions for amounts that were not typically available commercially.

O’Dell then allegedly ordered bulk quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone in powder form, compounding the ingredients into pills at the pharmacy, and filling prescriptions for patients from the clinic.

O’Dell is facing federal conspiracy charges, misrepresenting medications and interstate commerce violations, as the powder shipped to his pharmacy came from out of state.

A criminal information is a formal accusation of a crime that can be filed in place of a grand jury indictment. A criminal information is typically filed when a plea deal or some cooperation from the named suspect is expected.

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