A federal judge last week once again rejected a Van Buren drugstore’s request to prevent a supplier from cutting off sales of controlled substances.
If you recall, Manes’ Pharmacy Inc., which operates Super-Sav Drug #3 at 2215 Alma Highway, asked for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, which stopped selling Manes’ controlled substances on Nov. 30, according to records filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith. In November, AmerisourceBergen told Manes’ it was concerned about the drugstore’s sales of controlled substances. The request for a temporary restraining order was denied in December.
“While we are disappointed that the injunction was denied, we believe this was a win, as the evidence presented vindicated our client of any alleged wrongdoing by AmerisourceBergen,” said one of Manes’ attorneys, Spencer Vereen of the Little Rock law firm Caddell Reynolds.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Ford wrote Manes’ odds of success in its lawsuit are low, “but not insignificant. Manes has raised substantial questions that call for more deliberate investigation, but it has not demonstrated a sufficiently high likelihood of success on the merits.”
Nevertheless, he said in his 10-page opinion and order Wednesday that AmerisourceBergen’s conduct toward Manes’ was “rather baffling.”
All the “red flags” AmerisourceBergen identified as problems with Manes’ sale of controlled substances “were ultimately the result of medically appropriate prescriptions that were filled in the exercise of sound pharmacological judgment. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this litigation results more from AmerisourceBergen’s inexplicable intransigence and bureaucratic rigidity than from Manes’ pharmaceutical dispensing practices.”
But Ford also said he believes that AmerisourceBergen “has a strong argument that it had a contractual right to terminate sales of controlled substances to Manes for virtually any reason whatsoever.”
AmerisourceBergen is represented by Reed Smith LLP of Pittsburgh and Lax Vaughan Fortson Rowe & Threet of Little Rock. It didn’t immediately return a message for comment.
Ford also said that none of his findings or conclusions “constitutes law of the case, and that the Court remains free to change its mind once the record is further developed.”