Virginia Beach grocery chain pays $1M to settle poor pharmacy record-keeping claims

A Virginia Beach-based grocery store chain has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to the federal government to settle claims that its pharmacies failed to keep adequate records of controlled substances.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced the payment from Virginia Beach-based FF Acquisition, Inc., the grocery chain that owns Farm Fresh, on Tuesday.

The chain operated 34 pharmacies in eastern Virginia, although it recently sold several locations.

U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger says record keeping is “crucial” to combating the opioid crisis and preventing illegal prescription drug sales.

Federal authorities say the chain didn’t record dates and quantities of controlled substances it shipped and received and didn’t report thefts in a timely manner. An attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.