A judge ruled Friday that a drug company can go ahead and cut off shipments to the south Oklahoma City pharmacy that gained national attention after a pharmacist fatally shot a robber there.
In February, Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis required Cardinal Health Inc. to continue shipping pills to Reliable Discount Pharmacy for 45 more days.
The judge agreed to end her requirement at 5 p.m. Friday, about two days early.
Drug sales questioned
She dissolved her order early at the request of the Oklahoma County district attorney's office and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
They told the judge the pharmacy had sold more of the three most-abused prescription drugs over the last two years than a nearby Walmart, Walgreens and a third store did combined.
The pharmacy is at 5900 S Pennsylvania Ave.
Reliable Discount Pharmacy's attorney, Joe White, told the judge Friday the store has been following the law.
“We haven't done anything wrong, all right? We haven't done anything wrong,” White said.
Cardinal Health suspended shipments of controlled substances to Reliable Discount Pharmacy on Feb. 1.
The Ohio-based, $103 billion company determined there was “an unreasonable risk for potential diversion,” records show.
Cardinal Health has been under pressure from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to better monitor sales at pharmacies it supplies.
What will happen next was unclear Friday.
Cardinal Health could suspend shipments again to the Oklahoma City pharmacy.
The company possibly could come to an agreement with Reliable Discount Pharmacy to ship it fewer pills.
Also, Reliable Discount Pharmacy could ask Judge Davis for another order requiring Cardinal Health to continue sending it pills.
DA says pharmacy is place to go for addicts
District Attorney David Prater told The Oklahoman on March 11 that the small pharmacy has become a go-to place for addicts.
“It's apparent now that the word on the street is if you want certain types of prescription drugs, you can go to Reliable Pharmacy and get it,” Prater said.
The pharmacy's attorneys complained in legal papers that to rely on sales statistics “as proof of illegal activity is not only faulty logic, but smacks of a witch hunt against Reliable.”
The attorneys wrote Reliable Discount Pharmacy serves those who cannot afford the prices at chain stores. They also wrote it has more customers now because other discount pharmacies have closed and because of the publicity about the shooting.
A former store employee, Jerome Ersland, 60, was convicted last year of first-degree murder. He is serving a life sentence.
Jurors agreed Ersland should not have shot the unarmed robber again after knocking the robber to the floor with a shot to the head in 2009.
Prosecutors at last year's trial put on evidence showing the robber, Antwun Parker, 16, was unconscious from the first shot and not moving when the pharmacist shot him five more times.
Ersland contended he was defending himself and two other employees.
He claimed the robber was getting back up but he gave conflicting accounts of what happened.