Retired government official singles out McKesson in opioid epidemic

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 19, 2017
Business Affairs
Company calls the
accusations "unsubstantiated"
The U.S. is facing an opioid crisis and some say the drug manufacturers are to blame.

A 60 Minutes/Washington Post joint investigation into this issue has placed McKesson Corporation in the spotlight, but the company claims that it has no reason to be there.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Furthermore, this misuse of prescription opioids costs the country $78.5 billion per year.

“The issue with McKesson was that they were providing millions and millions and millions of pills to countless pharmacies throughout the United States, and they did not maintain any sort of due diligence,” David Schiller, retired assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver field division, told 60 Minutes.

In September 2005, DEA officials warned McKesson about excessive sales of their products to pharmacies filling illegal online prescriptions. Then in May 2008, the Department of Justice accused the company of failing to report suspicious sales of prescription medications to pharmacies that filled orders from illegal “Internet pharmacies."

McKesson agreed to pay $13.3 million to settle the claims, but denied any wrongdoing.

The company did design a compliance program, but according to a DOJ release published in January, did not fully implement or adhere to it. From June 2008 to May 2013, the company processed more than 1.6 million orders for controlled substances in Colorado, but only reported 16 orders as suspicious.

McKesson agreed to pay a $150 million settlement and suspend the sale of controlled substances from its distribution centers in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and Florida for multiple years. The government and McKesson have also agreed to improve compliance terms for the next five years.

The company will undergo thorough staffing and organizational improvements, periodic auditing and predetermined financial penalties if it does not adhere to the terms. It’s also required to deploy an independent monitor to evaluate compliance.

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