Week after federal raid, Sunshine Pharmacy in East Naples remains closed

Corey Perrine/Staff
Members of Collier County Sheriff's Office respond at the Sunshine Pharmacy after a raid was conducted earlier in the day Thursday, Jan. 17, 2012 in Naples, Fla. The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confiscated boxes of evidence and computers from the business. Collier County Narcotics team helped in assisting with the operation. Details are unknown why the officers arrived but stayed for about 30 minutes asking questions to those working inside. Federal investigators have not released details for the said raid either.

Photo by COREY PERRINE, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff Members of Collier County Sheriff's Office respond at the Sunshine Pharmacy after a raid was conducted earlier in the day Thursday, Jan. 17, 2012 in Naples, Fla. The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confiscated boxes of evidence and computers from the business. Collier County Narcotics team helped in assisting with the operation. Details are unknown why the officers arrived but stayed for about 30 minutes asking questions to those working inside. Federal investigators have not released details for the said raid either.

Video from NBC-2

— Sunshine Pharmacy owner Del Parrish voluntarily gave up his license to fill prescriptions for certain controlled substances as federal authorities continue a probe of potential Medicare fraud, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say.

Agency spokeswoman Mia Ro in Miami said Parrish relinquished his DEA registration Thursday to fill prescriptions for controlled substances in four classifications, which include pain medications, stimulants, cough medications and steroids.

Officials with DEA and U.S. Health and Human Services on Jan. 17 confiscated documents and computers from Sunshine Solutions and Pharmacy at 5480 Rattlesnake-Hammock Road in East Naples.

Parrish, 43, and his mother, Patricia Parrish, 73, are under investigation to determine if they engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare Part D by submitting claims to Medicare after the death of beneficiaries, according to an Oct. 17 letter that HHS sent to Medicare Part D providers. In addition, they may have submitted false claims to Medicaid and Tricare, the insurance for military members, the letter said.

Federal authorities followed up this past Thursday and confiscated records at Sunshine Pharmacy locations at 6350 Davis Blvd. and 421 U.S. 41 N., NBC-2 reported.

"This is an ongoing investigation," DEA's Ro said Friday, adding that the Collier County Sheriff's Office and Naples Police Department are assisting.

The Rattlesnake-Hammock pharmacy has been closed since last week but the Davis Boulevard and U.S. 41 stores were open Friday. Store employees declined to comment about the DEA action.

The inability to fill prescriptions for controlled substances creates a hardship for a pharmacy to stay open, even if they are a small part of the total prescription business, said Matthew Cammuso, a pharmacist with Wooley's, an independent pharmacy at 3761 East U.S. 41 since 1992.

"It becomes extremely difficult to survive, simply because a percentage of your prescriptions, 10 or 15 percent, or maybe as low as 5 percent, are for controlled substances," Cammuso said. "Usually they are accompanied by other non-controlled prescriptions. Someone (a customer) is going to go to one stop."

Cammuso said Wooley's welcomes any Sunshine customers who want to transfer prescriptions to his pharmacy. They can bring in an empty vial and the pharmacy can call their doctor, or the customer can call their doctor for a new prescription, Cammuso said.

According to state Department of Health records, Parrish's license as a pharmacist remains active and clear.

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