Cardinal Health ends DEA inquiry with settlement

AP News
Posted: May 15, 2012 3:10 PM
Cardinal Health ends DEA inquiry with settlement

Pharmaceutical wholesaler Cardinal Health Inc. said Tuesday one of its Florida facilities will be barred from shipping controlled substances for two years under a settlement with federal authorities over alleged ineffective controls.

The Lakeland, Fla., facility will remain open and other operations will continue under the agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Cardinal Health also intends to improve procedures that are designed to prevent prescription drugs from being abused.

The Dublin, Ohio, company said the DEA is not planning to take further actions against other Cardinal Health facilities.

The DEA said the Cardinal Health distribution center and two Orlando-area CVS Caremark Corp. pharmacies were distributing amounts of the oxycodone that were far in excess of legitimate medical needs. Oxycodone is a powerful painkiller and the active ingredient in drugs like Percocet and OxyContin.

The DEA ordered the facilities shut down in February. Cardinal Health went to court to stop the move, but in March a federal appeals court allowed the DEA's suspension to proceed.

The agency cited the same Cardinal Health facility for failing to prevent illegal distribution of pharmaceuticals in 2008. The company paid $34 million to resolve claims that it did not tell the DEA about suspicious orders for hydrocodone, the main ingredient in painkillers like Vicodin.

CVS Caremark, based in Woonsocket, R.I., said it has cut back "dramatically" on the amount of oxycodone prescribed by the two pharmacies cited by the DEA.

Shares of Cardinal Health lost 52 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $42.24 in afternoon trading. CVS Caremark shares rose 27 cents to $45.38.