A pharmacist who worked at the Farmington location of a large pharmacy chain is facing felony charges after a multi-agency investigation into the illegal acquisition of prescription drugs.
Tamara Jo Nyachira, 40, of Pittsburg, Kansas, was indicted Wednesday in United States District Court on three felony charges of obtaining anti-malaria and narcotic opioid prescription drugs with forged prescriptions.
According to the indictment, Nyachira was a pharmacist for a large pharmacy chain, and worked at various pharmacies throughout Missouri, including one in Farmington.
In March, the indictment alleges Nyachira used several forged prescriptions to obtain two drugs: amoxicillin clavulanate potassium (sometimes marketed as Augmentin) and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (sometimes marketed as Plaquenil).
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, and can also be used on an emergency basis for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to court documents.
The indictment further alleges that Nyachira used a forged prescription to fraudulently obtain Codeine/butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine (sometimes marketed as Fioricet with Codeine), which is an opioid drug and Schedule III controlled substance.
“Nyachira is charged with forging prescriptions and fraudulently obtaining opioids and other drugs, thereby limiting availability of medications to patients legitimately reliant on these drugs,” said Special Agent In Charge Curt L. Muller for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We are dedicated to working with local, state, and federal officials to hold accountable individuals who engage in such illegal activities.”
If convicted, the anti-infection prescription drug charges each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the controlled substance charge carries a maximum penalty of four years behind bars.
In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Pittsburg, Kansas Police Department, the Branson, Missouri Police Department, and the Farmington Police Department.
Assistance with the investigation came from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri Pharmacy Board, the Eastern District of Missouri OPIOID Task Force, and the Eastern District of Missouri COVID-19 Task Force — a multi-agency working group committed to fighting COVID-19 frauds and scams.
The COVID-19 task force is operated under the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org