Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ketchum dentist settles federal records case

$15K paid after allegation of missing Demerol


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A Ketchum dentist is one of two parties in Idaho that recently reached settlements with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise regarding distribution records for controlled medicine.

A news release issued June 9 identified the dentist as H. Aaron Blaser. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Blaser agreed to pay $15,000 in settlement in a case involving a shortage of 72,100 milligrams of the pain medication Demerol.

The case is a civil action and resulted from an audit conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Schipper Howe on Friday described the payment as an "out-of-court settlement," in which Blaser "did not admit to any violations."

The amount of Demerol reported as a shortage by the U.S. Attorney's Office is the equivalent of between about 500 and 1,500 doses of the drug, since the standard dosage of Demerol for adults is 50 to 150 milligrams.

Blaser could not be reached for comment. He previously practiced at the Sun Valley Dental Group but office staff reported Monday that he no longer works there.

The second case involved Paul's Pharmacy in Caldwell. The U.S. Attorney General's Office reported that store owner Z Inc. paid $20,000 in settlement after a federal audit "revealed a shortage of approximately 11,733 dosage units of hydrocodone," another pain medication.

The news release stated that federal law requires health professionals and pharmacies to "comply with regulatory requirements relating to drug security and record keeping."

Howe said the settlements also included agreements by Blaser and Paul's Pharmacy to comply with all federal record-keeping requirements.

"That's kind of the point," she said.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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