Saginaw pharmacy dispensed the most codeine in Michigan, has license suspended

Codeine liquid
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SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/09/2017) - State regulators say Saginaw's Universal Pharmacy dispensed the most codeine of any pharmacy in Michigan from 2015 to 2016.

The pharmacy also lost significant quantities of the liquid painkiller and couldn't explain why.

That led the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to suspend pharmacist Sureshkumar Dakshinamoorthy’s license to dispense controlled substances. The state also filed an administrative complaint against Dakshinamoorthy and the pharmacy.

In a press release issued Thursday, state regulators accuse Dakshinamoorthy of failing to maintain protocols against loss or theft of controlled substances and dispensing controlled substances without good faith.

Codeine and promethazine syrup commonly are prescribed to provide relief for upper respiratory illnesses. However, state regulators say it also gets frequently abused and diverted medication known by the street names “sizzurp,” “purple drank” and “lean.”

Dakshinamoorthy and Universal Pharmacy also are accused of dispensing dangerous combinations of controlled substances such as alprazolam, carisoprodol, hydrocodone and oxycodone to individuals who visited multiple providers across Michigan.

The actions taken against Dakshinamoorthy and Universal Pharmacy so far are only temporary administrative orders to protect public health. More proceedings are necessary before a permanent determination is made whether they violated Michigan's public health code.

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