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Pharmaceuticals / Commercial Operations

House E&C Committee Pulls Distributors, DEA into Opioid Epidemic Investigation

May 19, 2017

The leaders of the House health committee sent letters to three opioid distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration, following news reports of large numbers of the painkillers being sold in West Virginia.

The representatives cited a single pharmacy in a town of 392 residents that received nearly nine million hydrocodone pills over two years, well beyond what the population could safely use.

McKesson, CardinalHealth and AmerisourceBergen received requests for descriptions of their distribution practices for various opioid drugs, and the admonishment that “all players in the health care community have a responsibility to help prevent abuse and addiction.”

West Virginia had the highest overdose death rate in the nation in 2015, during a period when drug wholesalers shipped 780 million pills to the state over six years, the letter said, referring to investigations by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Washington Post.

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