A New Jersey pharmacist is under arrest for allegedly creating fraudulent prescriptions  to obtain a weight-loss drug known to have a high potential for abuse.  State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa announced the arrest today of 62 year old Joseph Chiodo Jr. of Morganville.

Chiodo, a licensed pharmacist, worked at the Stop and Shop Pharmacy on Lloyd Road in Aberdeen and on two separate occasions, he allegedly created fraudulent prescriptions for the diet drug phentermine.

On both occasions, Chiesa says he created false entries in the pharmacy's electronic log, took the pills from the pharmacy and mailed them to a friend.  The most recent occasion was in March of this year.

Chiodo was taken into custody by the Aberdeen Police Department on December 6 and charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud, two counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  All are third degree crimes.

The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) was a major factor in discovery Chiodo's alleged crime.  The NJPMP is a database that tracks the prescription sale in New Jersey of all drugs classified as controlled dangerous substances or human growth hormone.

"The NJPMP is working exactly as it should.  It helps identify health care practitioners who violate the law and their code of ethics by making dangerous drugs available for abuse.  It also helps honest prescribers protect themselves against fraud and ensure that their prescription authority is not being used fraudulently," said Chiesa.  "Access to this database is available free of charge to all prescribers and pharmacists who are duly licensed in New Jersey and we strongly encourage all of them to sign up for its use."

Licensed prescribers and pharmacists may register for access to the NJPMP, free of charge, by following the instructions at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/pmp.  NJPMP data is also available to law enforcement agencies to help root out the illegal diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.

“Pharmacists are trusted with medications that can cause great harm if used irresponsibly,” said Eric Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  “Any health care practitioner who violates the law and puts the public’s health and safety at risk, should know we will use the NJPMP and all tools at our disposal to find them, stop them, and bring them before the law.”