Prescription drugs being sold illegally in some Denver grocery stores

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DENVER -- Several Denver-area grocery stores are under the microscope after a FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation captured clerks illegally selling antibiotics to customers.

Four grocery stores in the metro area were found to be illegally selling prescription medicine or antibiotics to customers without a prescription. Those antibiotics included an entire bottle of amoxicillin for $30 to a couple of pills for $6.

Adam Jackson, a clinical pharmacy specialist with Kaiser Permanente in Denver, said not only is it illegal for store clerks to sell prescription medicines, it's also dangerous.

"I think there's two main concerns," he said. "One, there's no way to be certain what's inside the bottle and second, a person could have a serious allergic reaction to a medication."

The manager of one of the stores where a bottle of amoxicillin was sold illegally said he had no idea the antibiotics were being sold.

"Seriously, I didn't know," Shorty Cardenas said. "If I would have known it, I could have used some because I'm sick right now."

The state has issued only three cease and desist orders over the past three years for the illegal selling of antibiotics.

Most of the violators are Hispanic grocery stores and Jackson said part of the problem might be a cultural one.

"In some other countries, you can get antibiotics and other medications that here you can only get through a prescription, but in other countries you can get over the counter without a doctor's prescription," Jackson said.

Regardless, Jackson said it's a practice that has to stop before a grocery store clerk accidentally sells a customer a product that makes them ill or even kills them.