Ex-CEO is first drug exec indicted in opioid crisis

25 Avril, 2019, 05:02 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Ex-CEO is first drug exec indicted in opioid crisis

Department of Justice officials announced Tuesday that for the first time a drug distribution company and two executives will be charged for their role in the unlawful distribution of opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl.

Rochester Drug Co-operative, one of the top 10 largest drug distributors in the United States, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to defraud the USA, and willfully failing to file suspicious order reports.

Pietruszewski, the company's former chief compliance officer, cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to three criminal counts.

Doud, 75, surrendered to authorities and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday. But it has agreed to accept responsibility for its actions, pay a $20 million fine, reform its controlled substances compliance program and allow itself to be supervised by an independent monitor, according to the prosecution agreement released by Berman's office. The company also faces a civil charge of failure to file suspicious order reports. Doud will appear in court Tuesday, and Pietruszewski pleaded guilty last Friday, Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY, said.

Jeff Eller, a spokesman for the company, said in a news release that "we made mistakes, and RDC understands that these mistakes, directed by former management, have serious consequences".

Eller said that Doud left in April 2017 and Pietruszewski in July 2018.

Doud's lawyer said he intends to "fully defend" himself against the criminal charges. "Mr. Doud is being framed".

"The government has it all wrong and is being used by others to cover up their wrongdoing", Gottlieb said.

Doud's attorney did not return a request for comment Wednesday morning. Doud acted out of greed, Berman suggested, pointing out that the executive's salary more than doubled during the years of the alleged crimes.

Around 47,600 people died in 2017 from an opiate overdose in the United States, according Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures.

Fortnite Teases Avengers Endgame Crossover For Coming Movie Release
It is the twenty second movie under the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is one of the most awaited films of the year 2019. Cinema staff then told customers that they would be receiving a refund due to the unexpected inconvenience.

Woman killed after falling into meat grinder at food processing plant
Economy Locker Storage specializes in "wholesale meat processing and distribution needs", according to the company's website . The state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration told WNEP that this is the first reported death at the facility.

Measles cases approaching 20-year high — CDC
We've reached out to officials to get more details about how and where you can get free vaccines, but haven't heard back. The Georgia Department of Public Health says three cases of measles have been reported in the Atlanta area.

While the DOJ has beefed up its efforts in the fight against opioid abuse as overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, this case serves as a new milestone in that effort. Distributors are responsible for monitoring and reporting any unusual amount, pattern or frequency of orders by drugstores - signs that drugs are being diverted to the black market.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY has filed a separate suit pursuing "penalties and injunctive relief" from the company.

In an early criminal case, federal charges were brought against Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin. Berman accused Doud of ordering RDC to supply pharmacy clients with opioids without due diligence.

Rochester is privately-held, and competes with drug distributors including publicly-traded AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp. All have settled cases with the DEA since 2007, including an agreement that resulted in a $150 million fine against McKesson, the sixth-largest USA company on the 2018 Fortune 500 list.

The charges come about a week after federal prosecutors filed charges against 60 doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals for allegedly pushing opioids in the hard-hit Appalachia region.

"For at least half a decade, RDC distributed risky, highly addictive opioids to pharmacy customers that its senior management, including Laurence F. Doud, the defendant, knew were being sold and used illicitly", according to the grand jury indictment of Doud.

RDC admitted to violating federal narcotics laws from January 2012 to March 2017 by distributing oxycodone, fentanyl and other controlled substances to pharmacy customers despite internal "red flags" that they would be used improperly.

Of almost 1.5 million orders for narcotics placed between 2012 and 2016, the company flagged only four as suspicious, according to court documents.

Between May 2012 and November 2016, the company received and filled over 1.5 million orders for controlled substances from its pharmacy customers.

Doud replied: "I don't think this is going to end well". An auditor described the situation in an email as a "DEA investigation in the making".



Chalking tires to enforce parking restrictions declared unconstitutional in MI
The Michigan city is welcome to enforce parking regulations, the court said, but doing so with chalk markings is unconstitutional. Chalking tires is a kind of trespass, Judge Bernice Donald wrote for the panel, and it requires a warrant.

CDC: Depending on age, you may need booster for protection from measles
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 695 cases had been reported in 22 states this year as of Wednesday afternoon. In the past, one dose was advocated compared with two shots doctors recommend for children today.

'Kissing Bug' related to fatal disease confirmed to be in Delaware
Preliminary investigations by the Delaware Division of Public Health identified the insect as a kissing bug. Despite a high number of parasites circulating in the blood, most symptoms are either mild or absent.

4-star guard Cassius Stanley commits to Duke
The Blue Devils emerged late in the process after Stanley didn't make a decision during the fall's early signing period. UCLA's coaching change impacted the Bruins' pursuit of Stanley, while he remained unconvinced by the Jayhawks or Ducks.

Mexican Military Now Patrolling North Of The Border, US Sovereignty Violated Repeatedly
Despite Mexico's effort, officials say thousands more continue to flow into the country hoping to make it to the United States. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised at a Wednesday news conference to investigate the border incident.

Facebook anticipates privacy fine of up to $5B
In last year's first quarter, the company posted earnings of US$4.99 billion, or US$1.69 a share, on US$11.97 billion in sales. Facebook has seen its stock rise 36% year to date, crushing the 16% rise in the S&P 500 index. "No more platitudes.

Poloz inverts Canada's yield curve by removing rate-hike bias
The central bank's March rate announcement said there was " increased uncertainty about the timing of future rate increases ". In January, the bank was expecting Canada's economy to grow by 1.7 per cent this year.

Grand Canyon visitor, 70, dies in fall from edge, authorities say
Another visitor to Grand Canyon National Park has died after falling over the edge of the SouthRim, authorities said Tuesday. The body of a Japanese tourist was also discovered in an undeveloped area of the park March 26, far from any overlook areas.

Boeing takes $1bn hit on 737 Max in wake of fatal crashes
While the Max's indefinite grounding drags on, Boeing's management team is focusing on conserving cash and tamping down costs. Boeing introduced the 737 Max as a reliable fuel- and cost-efficient solution to air travel in the 21st century.

Microsoft quarterly revenue beats estimates on cloud growth
Another closely-watched cloud metric, commercial cloud revenue, increased 41 percent compared to the previous year to $9.6 billion.