(WHTM) — On Monday, March 13, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the United States filed a complaint alleging that Rite Aid knowingly filled unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances.

According to the United States Department of Justice, the United States filed a complaint following a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act (FCA) against the Rite Aid Corporation.

The government’s complaint also alleges that there were violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Rite Aid is one of the country’s largest pharmacy chains, they have over 2,200 pharmacies across 17 states. The pharmaceutical company was originally headquartered in Camp Hill and relocated to Philadelphia.

According to the Department of Justice, the complaint alleges that Rite Aid knowingly filled hundreds of thousands of unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances that lacked legitimate medical purpose, were not for a medically accepted indication, or were not issued in the usual course of professional practice from May of 2014 to June of 2019.

Some of the prescriptions that were allegedly filed included prescriptions for highly dangerous and abused drugs, commonly known as “the trinity,” prescriptions for excessive quantities of opioids; such as oxycodone and fentanyl, and prescriptions issued by prescribers whom Rite Aid pharmacists had identified internally as writing illegitimate prescriptions.

“We allege that Rite Aid filled hundreds of thousands of prescriptions that did not meet legal requirements,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “According to our complaint, Rite Aid’s pharmacists repeatedly filled prescriptions for controlled substances with obvious red flags, and Rite Aid intentionally deleted internal notes about suspicious prescribers. These practices opened the floodgates for millions of opioid pills and other controlled substances to flow illegally out of Rite Aid’s stores.”

“The Justice Department is using every tool at our disposal to confront the opioid epidemic that is killing Americans and shattering communities across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That includes holding corporations, like Rite Aid, accountable for knowingly filling unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances.”

Rite Aid is alleged to of ignored evidence from sources that its stores were participating in these activities and unlawful dispersions, including from certain pharmacists, its distributor, and its own internal data. However, the company is alleged to of intentionally deleted internal notes about suspicious prescribers written by the pharmacists at Rite Aid.

The government alleges that Rite Aid violated the CSA and, where Rite Aid sought reimbursement from federal healthcare programs, also violated the FCA.

According to the Department of Justice, along with Rite Aid Corporation, the government’s complaint names as defendants the following Rite Aid subsidiaries: Rite Aid Hdqtrs, Corp.; Rite Aid of Connecticut, Inc.; Rite Aid of Delaware, Inc.; Rite Aid of Maryland; Rite Aid of Michigan; Rite Aid of New Hampshire; Rite Aid of New Jersey; Rite Aid of Ohio; Rite Aid of Pennsylvania; and Rite Aid of Virginia.

“The opioid crisis has exacted a heavy toll on communities across the United States,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s complaint is an important reminder that the Justice Department will hold accountable any individuals or entities, including pharmacies, that fueled this terrible crisis.”

The Rite Aid Corporation declined to comment on the matter.