South Indianapolis pharmacy facing lawsuit over improper record keeping


An independent south Indianapolis pharmacy is learning a costly lesson in the fight against prescription drug abuse.

The government is suing the company for failing to act as a gatekeeper over potent painkillers and narcotics. 13 Investigates shows you why the U.S. Attorney is demanding action over improper record keeping and other technical violations.

The brothers who own the Marwood Pharmacy are like part of the family to neighbors along the stretch of Kentucky Avenue.

“I don’t understand what they were doing wrong,” said “Betty” – not her real name – outside of the pharmacy after picking up a prescription.

She didn’t want to be on camera, but had plenty to say.

“They’re good guys. They really are,” she insisted.

The U.S. Attorney filed a lawsuit against the Marwood Low Cost Pharmacy that could result in hefty fines.

A visit by DEA investigators found the brothers Methqal Abu-Mahfouz and Akram Abu-Mahfouz failing to record the receipt of potent painkillers and other scheduled narcotics.

Those records help investigators track down doctors who are overprescribing highly addictive drugs.

“Betty” told 13 Investigates Marwood is paying attention.

“I remember going to the doctor one time and they refused to fill her prescriptions because she was being watched by the DEA or something, and I didn’t even know that, and they wouldn’t fill any of her prescriptions,” recalled “Betty,” who has been getting her prescriptions filled there for three years.

But investigators say Marwood failed to keep proper records for dispensing 14 different drugs over a year’s period of time.

In fact, the DEA found:

  • Two unsigned prescriptions filled along with 30 forged prescriptions that also were filled at the pharmacy.
  • Another five prescriptions were honored using an expired DEA number and one prescription was faxed for a non-emergency month supply.

“I can tell you now, whatever the problem, now they don’t give you early refills, they don’t give you anything other than what the doctor has written…signed…dated,” said “Betty.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office says despite the technical violations, no criminal activity was detected and the brothers have agreed to step up the record keeping. If they comply, the U.S. Attorney will recommend a $100,000 fine as part of a settlement. If they don’t, the lawsuit will stand and even higher fines are possible.

Under the lawsuit, the Marwood Pharmacy could be ordered to pay up to a million dollars. A potentially costly lesson for the Abu-Mahfouz brothers and a message sent to pharmacies all across central Indiana.

The Abu-Mahfouz brothers declined requests for comment Friday.

A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s office said a federal court hearing is pending on the case and the proposed settlement recommendations.

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South Indianapolis pharmacy facing lawsuit over improper record keeping
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