McKesson pays $13 million fine for violations of the Controlled Substances Act

May 6, 2008

McKesson is settling allegations that it violated federal reporting provisions relating to its handling of controlled substances at six of its distribution centers.

McKesson is the latest wholesale distributor to feel the wrath of the Drug Enforcement Administration over the sale of controlled substances. The company recently signed an agreement to pay $13 million in penalties for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act at distribution centers in Florida, Maryland, Colorado, Texas, Utah, and California. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), McKesson failed to report to the DEA “suspicious sales” of controlled substances to pharmacies that filled orders from illegal Internet pharmacies. McKesson also failed to report orders that were unusually large, DOJ noted. McKesson continued to fill the suspicious orders even after a 2005 meeting in which DEA “warned McKesson officials about excessive sales of their products to pharmacies filling illegal online prescriptions.” More than half of the fine ($7.5 million) was related to the Florida distribution center. In signing the settlement, McKesson did not admit to any wrong-doing. Previously, the DEA had suspended the licenses of some AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal distribution centers to dispense controlled substances to pharmacies.

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