Philly pharmacy sues drug wholesaler for making false accusations of overselling controlled substances

By Jim Boyle | Dec 13, 2014

The  owner of a pharmacy in Philadelphia says that a drug supplier damaged the neighborhood store's reputation after making a false accusation that it over-purchased and sold a controlled substance, according to a libel suit filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Uchenna Umeweni, owner of Bridge & Platt Family Pharmacy on Frankford Ave. in Philadelphia, seeks damages in excess of $250,000 from wholesaler Independent Pharmacy Cooperative and the Pharma Compliance Group, an auditing company.

According to the complaint, the Bridge & Platt Family Pharmacy had been purchasing the antidepressant drug Wellbutrin from the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative for more than 12 years. In June 2014, Umeweni learned that the wholesaler had started to acquire controlled medications for distribution and filled out a form to order the drugs for resale at the store.

After sending the electronic order, Umeweni contacted a representative a few days later, who told the plaintiff that an auditor would be arriving to inspect the premises. On June 26, an agent from the Pharma Compliance Group arrived at the pharmacy and accused Umeweni of overstocking and overselling Wellbutrin, calling it a class 2 controlled substance.

Umeweni informed the agent, Tony Scheller, a co-defendant, that Wellbutrin is not a controlled substance and that all of the orders have been documented by prescribing physicians at the nearby mental health facility. Following the inspection, Umeweni called the representative from the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, co-defendent Brian Rucker, and protested the audit.

According to the complaint, Rucker accused Umeweni of changing his pharmacy name from Girard Pharmacy to Bridge & Platt Family Pharmacy and linked the store to recent drug bust on Girard Avenue. Rucker allegedly told the plaintiff that he is lucky the defendant did not catch him selling Wellbutrin on the street because he would have closed down the store and put him in jail.

The claim says the Scheller filed a derogatory and false report that has harmed Umeweni financially and give him a poor reputation. According to the complaint, the report has made it more difficult for him to purchase controlled substances from other suppliers.

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Christian Nduka in Philadelphia.

The case ID is 141100315.

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