Reuters – Fri, Sep 14, 2012
(Reuters) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said it shut down shipments of controlled substances from Walgreen Co’s Florida distribution facility on the suspicion that highly addictive painkillers were being diverted to the black market.
The distribution center in Jupiter, Florida, “failed to conduct due diligence to ensure that the controlled substances were not diverted into other than legitimate channels,” the DEA said in a email statement.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had inspected the facility along with six of the company’s pharmacies in April.
The shutdown comes a few days after the DEA said it will revoke the controlled substance licenses of two CVS Caremark Corp <cvs.n> drugstores in Florida as part of a government crackdown on addictive painkillers like oxycodone.
According to the DEA, the Walgreen facility has become the largest distributer of oxycodone products in Florida.
The DEA has increased its focus on drug wholesalers and pharmacies as it tries to battle what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call a prescription drug abuse “epidemic.”
Deaths from narcotic painkillers now top those of heroin and cocaine combined.
“All DEA Registrants have an obligation to ensure that medications are getting into the hands of legitimate patients, and when they choose to look the other way patients suffer and drug dealers prosper,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville said in the email.
Walgreen could not be reached for comment outside regular business hours.
(Reporting by Tej Sapru in Bangalore; Editing by Gary Hill