Holy trinity

Georgia Records Landmark Settlement in ‘Holy Trinity’ Pill Mill Case

A former South Georgia pharmacy owner is set to pay $275,000 in what prosecutors have called the largest civil settlement paid by an individual pharmacist, obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia .

Based on allegations rather than a determination of liability, the settlement is a check in the win column for Georgia Assistant Attorney General Sara Vann and Assistant United States Attorneys Bradford Patrick and Patrick Schwedler, on behalf of the United States.

‘Red flags’

Former Pembroke Pharmacy owner Willie C. “Billy” Conley Jr. of Bryan County, the former pharmacist in charge, has accepted payment to resolve allegations of illegal distribution of controlled substances.

According to David H. Estes, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Pembroke ignored “red flags” suggesting that prescriptions written by Dr. Frank Bynes Jr., “a doctor convicted of making pills,” had not been issued for “legitimate medical reasons.

David Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. (Courtesy picture)

By filling Bynes’ unlawful prescriptions, state and federal attorneys alleged that Conley and his pharmacy breached a “corresponding responsibility to fill only lawful prescriptions.”

The lawyers also alleged that Conley had submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid “for a very dangerous combination of controlled substances, called the ‘holy trinity,’ consisting of an overlap of opioids, benzodiazepines and carisoprodol, frequently prescribed by Dr. Bynes”.

“Pharmacists who ignore their obligation to review suspicious prescriptions for controlled substances despite the presence of red flags can expect to be held accountable,” Estes said in a statement. declaration. “Doctors who manufacture pills cannot thrive without pharmacists willing to fill their illegal prescriptions. We will use every tool at our disposal to fight the opioid epidemic at every level of the supply chain.

“Presents a Threat”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr tweeted about the settlement, outlining a commitment to cracking down on pharmacists who fill wrongful prescriptions.

“Filling unnecessary prescriptions poses a threat to the health and well-being of Georgian citizens,” Carr tweeted. “We will continue to work diligently to hold accountable those who harm our state and will use all available resources to address this harm and protect our communities.”

Filling “prescriptions for medically unnecessary controlled substances” also harmed the Georgia Medicaid program, Carr said, but he vowed the state would “use all available resources, including the Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act, to remedy.” to this harm and protect our communities.

Paying the pharmacist will resolve claims supported by allegations, as liability has not been determined, according to the attorney general’s office.

Unlike the pharmacist, court records show Bynes is serving a 240-month prison sentence for healthcare fraud and illegal distribution of controlled substances, following a February 2020 conviction.