Opioid crisis: AmerisourceBergen targeted by new complaint
AmerisourceBergen called the complaint “an attempt to shift blame from past administrations and the DEA” for the opioid crisis “on to the industries they regulate.”
The The US Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit on Thursday against pharmaceutical giant AmerisourceBergen, accused of turning a blind eye “until now” to illegal drug prescriptions and continuing to fuel the opioid crisis.
In the United States, a federal law obliges drug distributors to report suspicious orders, likely to fuel illicit trafficking, recalled the assistant to the attorney general, Vanita Gupta, during a conference release.
From 2014 to the present, AmerisourceBergen and two of its subsidiaries have violated this obligation for hundreds of thousands of orders, it continued. She estimates that the company could be ordered to pay billions of dollars in penalties.
According to the complaint, the company ignored troubling information about five pharmacies with exorbitant order volumes, including painkillers containing highly addictive opioids.
It allegedly thus continued to deliver drugs to a Florida pharmacy until December 2019, although one of the latter's employees reported that customers were trafficking in the parking lot.
According to the New Jersey federal prosecutor, AmerisourceBergen didn't just turn a blind eye to the red flags. The complaint alleges that it intentionally altered its electronic monitoring programs to cause reports to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to drop by 99%, attorney Philip Sellinger noted. p>
As a result, the company, he said, sent only 350 reports to this agency in 2017 compared to 200,000 and 40,000 made by its two main competitors.
“[The company] prioritized its profits over its legal obligations and the well-being of Americans.
—Vanita Gupta, Assistant United States Attorney General
In a statement, AmerisourceBergen said the complaint was simply an attempt to blame past administrations and the DEA for the opioid crisis on the industries they regulate.
Laboratories and pharmaceutical distributors are accused of having, from 1996, vigorously promoted painkillers containing opioids such as oxycodone, which can only be obtained on prescription.
Their dangerousness came to light in the mid-2010s with the explosion of opioid-related overdoses, whether prescribed drugs resold on the market illegal drugs or designer drugs like fentanyl.
Around 600,000 people have died from it in 20 years.
Numerous agreements have been concluded in recent years to put an end to the avalanche of lawsuits against the actors. rs from the sector. AmerisourceBergen agreed in February to pay $6.1 billion as part of an agreement with states and local governments.