Cardinal Health's Florida facility banned from selling controlled substances for 2 years

May 16, 2012

Cardinal Health this week settled litigation with the DEA, which suspended Cardinal?s ability to sell controlled substance medications from its Lakeland, Fla., distribution center for two years.

Cardinal Health last week settled litigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which suspended Cardinal’s ability to sell controlled substance medications from its Lakeland, Fla., distribution center for 2 years.

As part of the agreement, Cardinal admits that its due diligence efforts for some pharmacy customers and its compliance with a 2008 DEA agreement for similar violations at the same facility were inadequate, according to the DEA.

After a U.S. Court of Appeals judge denied Cardinal’s request for an injunction against the DEA, Cardinal agreed to the settlement to “bring resolution to ongoing legislation,” according to a company statement. As part of the settlement, Cardinal agreed to “improve certain anti-diversion procedures.” Its Lakeland distribution center will remain open, and all other operations at the facility will continue, according to Cardinal.

“This agreement allows us to put this matter behind us, and just as important, will clear the way for a more productive dialogue about how we and others in the healthcare and regulatory community can work together to prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” said George Barrett, chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, in the company statement.

In February of this year, the DEA served an immediate suspension order (ISO) against Cardinal’s Lakeland facility, alleging that the distribution center failed to maintain effective controls against the diversion of controlled substances - specifically oxycodone. “In just three years, Cardinal’s Lakeland center supplied more than 12 million dosage units of oxycodone, a highly addictive, powerful painkiller, to four area pharmacies,” according to a statement from the DEA.

In 2007, the DEA also issued an ISO against the Lakeland facility, alleging that it shipped hydrocodone to “rogue” internet pharmacies. That action - and similar actions at other Cardinal Health facilities across the United States - resulted in a $34 million fine against Cardinal.