Health

DOJ sues pharma giant AmerisourceBergen Corp. for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid epidemic

The Justice Department is suing AmerisourceBergen Corp., accusing the pharmaceutical giant of helping fuel the opioid epidemic by allegedly repeatedly failing to report suspicious orders of opioids for practically a decade. 

Federal regulation requires opioid makers to alert the Drug Enforcement Administration to any suspicious orders or “red flags” to assist establish pharmacies that divert medicine to unlawful avenues. The regulation additionally requires makers to refuse to ship orders it deems suspicious. 

The civil complaint, filed in federal courtroom in Philadelphia, alleged AmerisourceBergen and two of its subsidiaries failed to adjust to these legal guidelines and will have failed to report a whole bunch of hundreds of probably suspicious orders. 

The company is accused of ignoring alerts from its pink flag system and persevering with to promote to pharmacies, realizing they is likely to be diverting some prescribed drugs to illicit markets. The lawsuit additionally alleged AmerisourceBergen deliberately altered its personal inner monitoring system to restrict the alert system. In one year, the company spent extra on taxis and office provides than on the inner monitoring system, the Justice Department mentioned.  

“[T]he company’s repeated and systemic failure to fulfill this simple obligation helped ignite an opioid epidemic that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past decade,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram mentioned in a information launch Thursday. 

AmerisourceBergen’s alleged crimes might be billions of {dollars} in violations, in accordance to a Justice Department official. 

In a press release, the company mentioned the Justice Department’s lawsuit focuses on 5 pharmacies which are “cherry picked” out of tens of hundreds of pharmacies it really works with and ignores the DEA’s “absence of action.” 

“In fact, AmerisourceBergen terminated relationships with four of them before DEA ever took any enforcement action while two of the five pharmacies maintain their DEA controlled substance registration to this day,” the company mentioned. 

Between 1999 to 2020, greater than 564,000 folks died from an overdose involving opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 80,000 deaths in 2021 concerned opioids. 

AmerisourceBergen was a part of a $26 billion settlement in 2021 for its function in the opioid disaster. 

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