Pharmaceutical Companies Facing Wave of Arrests
Two Rochester Drug Co-Operatives Facing Criminal Drug Trafficking Charges on Accusations of Illegal Distribution of Opioids and Defrauding the US
The Rochester Drug Co-Operative (RDC), between 2012 and 2017, enjoyed an 800% increase in demand for oxycodone and a 2,000% increase in demand for fentanyl from its customers, according to Federal Prosecutors.
RDC, which buys medicines directly from manufacturers and sells them wholesale to pharmacies, is now facing criminal drug trafficking charges on accusations of illegally distributing opioids.
RDC, one of America’s 10 biggest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S., was charged with alleged conspiracy to distribute controlled narcotics — oxycodone and fentanyl — for non-medical reasons and alleged conspiracy to defraud the the US.
Former CEO Laurence Doud III and former chief of compliance William Pietruszewski also were charged, and RDC and Pietruszewski also were charged with allegedly failing to file suspicious order reports to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
RDC, between May 2012 and November 2016, reportedly received and filled over 1.5 million orders for controlled substances from its pharmacy customers. RDC, however, only reported four suspicious orders to the DEA, according to a complaint filed by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
The Complaint further alleged that RDC allegedly failed to report at least 2,000 suspicious orders.
This is a landmark case as it is the first time distributors have been criminally charged with said crimes.
John N. Kapoor, & Former Insys Therapeutics Execs, Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy for Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Highly Addictive Painkiller to Patients
John N. Kapoor, a one-time billionaire and founder of Insys Therapeutics, and five former executives of Insys Therapeutics, were convicted of alleged racketeering conspiracy for bribing doctors to prescribe a highly addictive painkiller to patients who did not require it and allegedly deceiving insurers into paying for it.
In a second landmark case, this is believed to be the first criminal trial of pharmaceutical executives who marketed an opioid painkiller since the U.S’s deadly epidemic started. It is quite notable that Kapoor is among the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executives to face trial amid a national opioid epidemic.
A federal jury in Boston found the former executives of the Arizona drug company had allegedly taken part in a nationwide scheme to pay off doctors at pain clinics in order to prescribe Subsys, an under-the-tongue fentanyl spray was approved in 2012 for cancer pain.
Four of the five defendants were each found to have committed at least 15 acts of racketeering conspiracy. The guilty verdict could make it easier to make cases against other pharmaceutical executives implicated in the opioid crisis.
The U.S. government, by pursuing the case, has been portrayed as sending a message that it is holding drug companies accountable for their role in the epidemic.
U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling has made the following statement regarding the case:
Today’s convictions mark the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids. Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical executives responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.