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State revokes license of Burbank pharmacy that sold drugs to patients who died

The Board of Pharmacy finds that Jay Scott Drugs in Burbank failed to properly vet prescriptions for painkillers and other abused drugs that led to deaths.

January 28, 2014|By Scott Glover

A Burbank pharmacy that dispensed painkillers and other narcotics to five young patients who later died of overdoses had its license revoked Monday after the state pharmacy board found that its employees failed to properly scrutinize prescriptions that contributed to patient deaths.

The pharmacy, Jay Scott Drugs on Glenoaks Boulevard, catered to patients of doctors Bernard Bass and Massoud Bamdad, both of whom were later convicted of crimes in connection with their prescribing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Pharmacists are required by law to scrutinize prescriptions, size up customers and refuse to dispense a drug if they suspect a patient does not have a legitimate medical need for it.

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Many of Bass' patients were in their 20s and traveled more than 40 miles from their homes in Ventura County to see Bass in North Hollywood, and then another five miles to Jay Scott Drugs where they typically paid cash for a combination of prescription drugs favored by addicts. Though Bamdad was a general practitioner, three-quarters of the prescriptions his patients filled at the store were for painkillers or other commonly abused drugs, the California Board of Pharmacy alleged.

The board faulted lead pharmacist Albert Daher and two colleagues for unquestioningly filling prescriptions, despite multiple red flags that should have caused them to become suspicious. The board's decision noted that the pharmacy "received huge financial gains" of about $1.7 million from Bass' prescriptions.

During an interview in his store Monday, Daher said he felt unfairly targeted by the board and resented the notion that he put profit before patient care.

"I am not a bad person," he said.

Four Bass patients between the ages of 21 and 31 died of overdoses over the span of a month in 2008 after filling prescriptions at Jay Scott Drugs. A fifth patient fatally overdosed at age 23 after filling a prescription from Bamdad, according to pharmacy board documents.

Among those who died was 22-year-old Andrew Snay. An empty pill vial listing Bass as the doctor and Jay Scott Drugs as the pharmacy was on the night table next his body, according to the board's decision.

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