Bryan Cohen Jun. 13, 2013, 5:51pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced licensing complaints Thursday against the Terre Haute-based Hoosiers Prescription Shop and its owner for allegedly selling excessive amounts of oxycodone to out-of-state patients.

Ashok Patel, the pharmacy's owner and a registered pharmacist, allegedly dispensed approximately 22,000 oxycodone tablets to 71 patients from outside the state during a seven-month period last year. The patients allegedly paid for all the prescriptions in cash, approximately $53,000 in total. The prescriptions were written by 18 physicians from outside Indiana.

The Indiana Board of Pharmacy received notice from a pharmacy supplier that it stopped filling orders from Hoosiers Prescription Shop. The board then looked deeper into the practices of the Terre Haute-based pharmacy. Zoeller's office filed the complaints after reviewing the board's findings.

"These licensing complaints are just a part of our overall effort to crack down on the number of controlled substances that are being wrongfully added to the illegal supply of narcotics," Zoeller said. "My office is committed to protecting patients and appreciates the coordination from the Indiana Board of Pharmacy to bring licensing actions against violators."

While it is not a violation to fill prescriptions for out-of-state patients or accept prescriptions from out-of-state physicians, Zoeller alleged that Patel failed to exercise appropriate professional judgment by filling a high number of prescriptions for controlled substances from out-of-state patients.

Since 2012, Zoeller's office filed 15 licensing actions against physicians for overprescribing, including several cases that resulted in deaths.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is currently an epidemic in the U.S.

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