The DEA Was Poised To Take Down Huge Corporation Tied To Opioid Crisis. So What Happened?
The Washington Post examines the deal top attorneys at the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department struck with McKesson Corp. The agreement took the legs out from under agents who had been in the field trying to make a case against the corporation they say failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers.
The Washington Post:
‘We Feel Like Our System Was Hijacked’: DEA Agents Say A Huge Opioid Case Ended In A Whimper
After two years of painstaking investigation, David Schiller and the rest of the Drug Enforcement Administration team he supervised were ready to move on the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history. The team, based out of the DEA’s Denver field division, had been examining the operations of the nation’s largest drug company, McKesson Corp. By 2014, investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla. Some of those went to corrupt pharmacies that supplied drug rings. (Bernstein and Higham, 12/17)
The Washington Post:
New Drug Law Makes It ‘Harder For Us To Do Our Jobs,’ Former DEA Officials Say
A new law supported by opioid distributors and manufacturers is making it increasingly difficult to hold companies accountable when they run afoul of the nation’s drug laws, according to recently retired Drug Enforcement Administration investigators on the front lines of the war against opioids. They join a chorus of voices — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, 44 state attorneys general and the head of the DEA office that regulates pharmaceuticals — who are calling for changes to the law. (Higham and Bernstein, 12/15)
In other news —
Pressure Builds On The DEA To Stem The Supply Of Prescription Drugs
The process was started nearly five decades ago to ensure that drug makers produced enough medicines to avoid shortages. But in the midst of a national opioid epidemic, fresh scrutiny of the quota system has spread to Capitol Hill, where Democratic lawmakers are pressing the DEA to use it for another reason — to help stem supply. ...Rarely, however, has the quota system been used to eliminate or constrain supply for a class of drugs similar to opioids — created to fill a medical need but with consequences that, in at least some cases, have outweighed the medical benefits. (Facher, 12/18)