This is a first…
Rochester Drug Co-Operative, one of the 10 largest drug distributors in the US, was charged yesterday with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and willfully failing to file suspicious order reports.
Laurence Doud III, the company’s former chief executive, and William Pietruszewski, the company’s former chief compliance officer, are individually charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Pietruszewski is also charged with willfully failing to file suspicious order reports with the DEA.
Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Doud could face life in prison. Doud, 75, appeared in court Tuesday. Pietruszewski, 53, pleaded guilty on Friday.
“This prosecution is the first of its kind: Executives of a pharmaceutical distributor and the distributor itself have been charged with drug trafficking, trafficking the same drugs that are fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging this country. Our office will do everything in its power to combat this epidemic, from street-level dealers to the executives who illegally distribute drugs from their boardrooms.”
Between 2012 and 2016, RDC is accused of distributing tens of millions of doses of oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids . Thier sales of oxycodone grew from 4.7 million to 42.2 million, prosecutors said and fentanyl sales grew from approximately 63,000 dosages in 2012 to more than 1.3 million in 2016.
“Doud cared more about profits than the laws intended to protect human life.”
Doud’s made $1.5 million a year.
RDC entered into a plea agreement in the criminal case and a settlement in the civil case, agreed to admit to the accusations, submit to supervision by an independent monitor, reform its compliance program and pay a $20 million fine.
Jeff Eller, a spokesperson for RDC said in a statement.
“We made mistakes … and RDC understands that these mistakes, directed by former management, have serious consequences. We accept responsibility for those mistakes. We can do better, we are doing better, and we will do better.”
One element of the opioid epidemic is a dramatic increase in the volume of prescriptions for opioids and all narcotics. From 2012 to 2017, we did not have adequate systems in place nor were our compliance team and practices rigorous enough to provide adequate controls and oversight over the increased demand for narcotic drug products from pharmacies.”
Let’s hope this is just the beginning. THIS is how you put a dent in the opioid crisis in this country.
(Photo, YouTube; via NBC News)