For the first time, an opioid distributor is facing criminal charges in the U.S.
Prosecutors filed charges against Rochester Drug Cooperative and two of its former executives. They are accused of supplying drugstores with “tens of millions of pills” including doses of oxycodone and pharmaceutical fentanyl, which were used for illegal purposes.
As the sixth-largest drug wholesaler in the country, prosecutors have compared RDC to drug traffickers on the street.
“Many of the pharmacies that were illicit or complicit in manner would be cut off by other distributors and they would go towards RDC where RDC would then very happily start providing the opioids to them,” New York DEA agent Ray Donovan stated.
Distribution companies are responsible for monitoring the buying and selling of pharmaceuticals, like opioids, to drugstores. RDC allegedly filled more than 1.5 million orders between 2012 and 2016. Court documents show approximately 8,300 orders were flagged as potentially suspicious but RDC only reported four orders to the DEA.
Previously, distribution companies have been punished with penalties, but there’s been a harsher crackdown in light of the opioid epidemic. Nearly 60 doctors and medical staff were charged on April 17 for allegedly filling out prescription for fraudulent purposes.