The man in charge of a drugstore chain in the United States says he’s not a pharmacy employee and is not affiliated with a pharmacy.
Robert H. Mills, 54, said he’s a former member of the United Way of Minnesota who worked as a consultant to a pharmacy and an employee of a pharmacy company.
Mills has owned and operated Mills Pharmacy in the St. Paul suburb of Eden Prairie for the past decade.
Mills said he didn’t know the pharmacy’s name until a reporter told him.
“I was shocked,” Mills said.
“I was confused.
I wasn’t even aware that I was a pharmaceutically licensed person.”
Mills’ pharmacy, located at 709 E. Fifth Ave., has about 500 employees, about half of them employees of a private, for-profit company.
A spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based company said Mills is not licensed to dispense controlled substances and that Mills is neither a pharmacy employee nor a pharmacy consultant.
The company has said Mills has not taken a position on whether controlled substances should be sold in the state.
Mills has said he wants to open a retail pharmacy to fill the need in a growing number of states where people are buying prescription drugs online and are seeking out their medication without having to go to a doctor.
Mines’ move to become the face of the drugstore industry comes as the federal government continues to battle the opioid epidemic.
It has set aside nearly $1 billion to help states and localities address the problem.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has asked for an emergency stay of Mills’ order.
The DEA said Mills will be held in contempt of court and must appear in court again on Feb. 12.
Mushill’s attorney said Mills didn’t realize his actions would draw scrutiny.
“Mr. Mills is a humble, hard-working, caring man who cares deeply about the people of the St, Paul community,” said attorney Jeff Foshee.
“He is not an employee, he’s an employee who is an employee.”
Mushills’ business plan called for expanding his company’s sales to a growing customer base that includes the elderly and the young.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Mills owns three stores and has three retail locations.
Mishands’ purchase of the Eden Prairie store will give him access to more people and better access to their prescriptions, Mills said, adding he wants people to know that the company sells only controlled substances.
“There are not controlled substances that I sell, I’m not selling,” Mills told the newspaper.
“We are not selling a controlled substance.
We are selling medication.”
Middlesex County Sheriff Joe Mascaro said Mills was in a position of trust when he bought the store.
Mascari said Mills contacted him to say he wanted to open the store because the state of Minnesota had asked him to help.
“He said, ‘I’m not a registered pharmacist and I don’t have a license to dispensed controlled substances,’ ” Mascaros said.
Mascaro didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Milling’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Mills’ actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.