9,250 Hydrocodone Pills for Every Resident – Feds Charge Pharma Execs and Pharmacists with Conspiring to Distribute Opioids
Credit to LUKE BARR, ABC News
The former compliance officer and president of pharmaceutical distributor, Miami-Luken, were charged, alongside two West Virginia pharmacists, by federal prosecutors in Ohio Thursday with conspiring to distribute controlled substances.
ABCNews reports Miami-Luken’s former compliance officer, James Barclay,and former president, Anthony Rattini, were charged.
“In one instance, prosecutors claim that Miami-Luken distributed 3.7 million hydrocodone pills to a single pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia — a town with a population of about 400 people from 2008 to 2011. That averages out to 9,250 hydrocodone pills for every resident of the town,” reports ABC’s Luke Barr.
Anthony Rattini, former president of pharmaceutical distributor, Miami-Luken, and James Barclay, former compliance officer of Miami-Luken, were charged along with pharmacists, Devonna Miller-West and Samuel “Randy” Ballengee, according to court documents.
Neither attorneys for the four defendants or he defendants themselves responded to ABC News requests for comment. Three of the four defendants were arrested on Thursday morning, officials said. An arrest warrant for Barclay remained outstanding as of Thursday evening.
It is alleged that the pharmaceutical executives filled suspicious orders from the two pharmacists in an effort to enrich themselves while the opioid crisis in the Appalachian region was peaking. Miami-Luken made over $173million in profit from 2008 to 2015, according to federal prosecutors, and was a drug wholesaler for 200 companies in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. Miami-Luken,continued to fill large, suspicious orders even after being warned, prosecutors charge.
“Today’s arrests should be a wake-up call to distributors and pharmacists who are allowing opioid prescription pills to be illegally sold and dispensed from their facilities,” Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) Assistant Administrator, John Martin, said. “These actions will not be tolerated by the DEA, and they will be brought to justice.”
The company closed up shop earlier this year.
The former executives also allegedly distributed 2.2 million pills over the span of two years to a pharmacy that prosecutors say had been cut off by other wholesalers.
They also allegedly distributed 1.8 million Oxycontin pills to a doctor and pharmacy that was believed to be under DEA investigation for over prescribing.In one instance, Ballengee, who ran Tug Valley Pharmacy in Williamson, West Virginia, purchased 120,700 hydrocodone pills from Miami-Luken and from 2008-2014 bought 6 million dosage units of hydrocodone.