The First Executives of Drug Distribution Firm Criminally Charged During Opioid Epidemic

In the first campaign against the recent opioid epidemic in the US, top executives and previous CEO of a top a large drug distribution firm in New York have been criminally charged.

Rochester Drug Co-Op, which is listed among the top 10 biggest drug distributors in the country, was charged due to its violations to narcotics laws, willful failure to submit deceiving order reports, and plan to swindle the government.

William Pietruszewski, the previous CCO of the firm, and Laurence Doud III, the previous CEO of the firm, are individually charged with the plan to sell controlled substances and swindle the government. Also, Pietruszewski is charged with willful failure to submit deceiving order reports with the DEA.

Additionally, the United States attorney’s office submitted a lawsuit against the company seeking “injunctive relief and penalties.”

“This is the first prosecution of its form: Top managers of a pharmaceutical distributor have been criminally charged with trafficking drugs which are triggering the serious opioid crisis,” said the officer. “We are trying our best to fight this crisis, from low-level sellers to the managers who illegally provide drugs.”

From 2012 to 2016, Rochester Drug Co-Op is charged for selling millions of doses of fentanyl, oxycodone, and other opioids to pharmacy stores without legitimate needs.

Prosecutors claimed that the firm was against the DEA and its sold drugs and policies to pharmacies which were “submitting controlled substances issued by physicians acting outside the use of their medical practice.” The firm “sold controlled drugs even after red flags,'” said the attorney. And it even provided substances for those pharmacies which had been refused by other distributors.

During that time, the sales of oxycodone tablets of the company increased by 900%, from 4.6 million up to 42.1 million. The sales of fentanyl increased grew from around 63,000 dosages to approximately 1.3 million in. Also during this period, the compensation for Doud went up to $1.5 million per year.

“The previous executive cared more about revenue and profits than the policies created to protect the customers,” said the prosecutors.

Rochester Drug Co-Op declared it has reached a civil settlement and criminal plea agreement. The firm admitted the charges, accepted supervision from independent monitors, reformed the compliance program, as well as paid a fine of $20 million.

A new team of executives was set up in 2017, and started making considerable adjustments with a focus on creating a better program,” said the company’s statement.

Source:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/4/23/18512781/rochester-drug-cooperative-opioid-epidemic-drug-trafficking

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