Walden: Drug Distributor Sent Nearly 300,000 Opioids To A Small Pharmacy In One Month

Ethan Barton | Managing Editor

A pharmaceutical distributor sent an average of nearly 300,000 opioid pills each month to a pharmacy in a West Virginia town with a population of 400, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden said during a hearing Tuesday.

“Between ’06 and ’07, McKesson supplied Sav-Rite Pharmacy in Kermit, as you’ve heard, a town of 400, with 5.6 million opioids,” the Oregon Republican said. “Our research has indicated this pharmacy was fueled by prescriptions from a pill mill.” (RELATED: Big Pharma Accused Of Flooding Small Town With 20.8 Million Opioid Painkillers)

“This was widely known in the community,” he continued, noting that local media reported that costumers sold opioids in the parking lot. “The cash drawer was so full that it could not be shut.” (RELATED: DEA Knowingly Let Admitted Addicts, Dealers Prescribe Drugs)

The McKesson Corporation, according to company documents Walden’s committee received, had established a program that required it to review all opioid shipments greater than 8,000 pills per month. But committee investigators found McKesson shipped an average of 9,650 hydrocodone pills per day, which equated to 289,500 per month.

That’s 36 times greater than McKesson’s stated threshold, according to Walden.

“Did this program identify the Sav-Rite Pharmacy?” he asked.

McKesson Chairman, President and CEO John Hammergren replied: “It did not sir, it should have been terminated sooner. Our systems at the time were not automated enough. We didn’t flag it fast enough and get it fast enough.”

“We terminated that relationship as soon as we became aware that the purchases were as you described,” he continued.

Walden was concerned that other pharmacies like Sav-Rite still exist and are receiving massive shipments from drug distributors. McKesson’s systems now automatically block shipments above its threshold and must be reviewed before the order can be continued, Hammergren said.

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