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Penobscot Tribe was unaware of PIN Rx wrongdoing 5-11-07

OLD TOWN, Maine (AP) - The chief of the Penobscot Indian Nation said
Friday that the tribe was not aware of alleged wrongdoing by people
hired to run its PIN Rx mail-order pharmacy.

Chief Kirk Francis said the tribe would never condone criminal
activity and that its good name has been besmirched by state
officials in their investigation of now-defunct PIN Rx.

The Board of Pharmacy launched a hearing last month on accusations
that PIN Rx filled more than 180,000 orders worth more than $3
million without verifying the prescriptions. Some of those
prescriptions were for controlled substances.

Penobscot tribal members served on the board, but were not involved
in day-to-day decisions or aware of any problems, Francis said.

“Our people deserve an apology for this character assassination from
the state's attorney general's office and the Maine Board of Pharmacy
for dragging this tribe unnecessarily through the mud, as we have
done nothing wrong and are clearly the victim in this situation,”
Kirk said.

When PIN Rx opened in October 2005, state officials said the
no-frills pharmacy would fill MaineCare prescriptions at less cost
than a traditional pharmacy, saving the program for low-income
Mainers an estimated $5 million each year. It also aimed to help the
Penobscot tribe - the PIN in the name stands for “Penobscot Indian
Nation.”

But testimony before the Board of Pharmacy has underscored the
financial problems that plagued PIN Rx from the moment it went into
operation. PIN Rx was losing $100,000 a month when company officials
resorted to Internet sales, the state contends.
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