United States Obtains Consent Judgement And Permanent Injunction In Civil Case Against Two Clay County Pharmacists

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NASHVILLE – In a settlement reached this week, two former Clay County, Tennessee, pharmacists have been barred from dispensing controlled substances for the better part of the next two decades, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

John Polston, of Tomkinsville, Kentucky, and the former Pharmacist-in-charge of Oakley Pharmacy, Inc., d/b/a Dale Hollow Pharmacy, in Celina, Tennessee, has relinquished his licenses to practice pharmacy from the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy and the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy and is prohibited from applying for or seeking the renewal or reinstatement of a license or certificate to practice pharmacy anywhere in the United States until at least March 1, 2040.  In addition, Polston must pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000.00.

Michael Griffith, of Mount Juliet, Tennessee, and the former Pharmacist-in-Charge of Xpress Pharmacy of Clay County, LLC, must relinquish his license to practice pharmacy from the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy and is prohibited from applying for or seeking the renewal or reinstatement of a license or certificate to practice pharmacy anywhere in the United States until at least March 1, 2038.  Griffith must also pay a civil penalty in the amount of $2,000.00

In February 2019, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint, alleging violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act, against Dale Hollow Pharmacy and Xpress Pharmacy, including pharmacists John Polston, Michael Griffith, and others.  The government sought and received a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction, which has remained in place, and which prevented the pharmacies and pharmacists from dispensing controlled substances. 

In addition to the civil actions, and in separate criminal cases, on March 23, 2021, John Polston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances, illegal distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit an offense through the payment of illegal kickbacks, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.  He is currently awaiting sentencing.  Michael Griffith pleaded guilty on August 26, 2021, to conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and to two counts of health care fraud.  Griffith is also awaiting sentencing. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Bowden McIntyre is handling the civil investigation and litigation with the support of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch.

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