McKesson Corp. allegedly concealed security flaws in its supply chain, which fueled the opioid epidemic, according to a recently unsealed whistleblower case.
Former employees at the wholesale drug distribution giant claim that McKesson would hide the extent of its security issues from the federal government and falsely represented that it would comply with two settlement agreements. Millions of the addictive pain pills were diverted to the black market as a result, according to the lawsuit.
This is the source of all the opioid medications that flooded the black market. (I’ve been pointing this out for years.)
And, since that source of massive diversion has been slowly shut down, street drug users have simply switched drugs, first to heroin or fake opioid pills and now to other powders like methamphetamine and cocaine.
Overdoses are very rarely from prescribed opioids, but from multiple street drugs contaminated by poisonous quantities of fentanyl.
“McKesson could easily tighten security to significantly reduce the illegal diversion of opioids, but McKesson refuses to take these necessary measures because doing so would adversely impact McKesson’s profitability,” the amended complaint reads.
The government declined to intervene in the case.
This outrage makes me quiver with fury.
The same “government” prosecutes doctors for prescribing opioids to patients with a legitimate need for opioid pain relief to preserve their quality of life and doctors kick out patients who take even one more pill than directed.
But no one intervenes when a distributor ships millions of pills to known pill mills. This reeks of bribery and corruption, just as we’ve long known about and condemned in so many third world countries.
What kind of a country are we living in now?
According to the complaint, McKesson hired a security expert in 2006 who could easily access opioid storage areas in its distribution centers. Alleged vulnerabilities in its IT system allowed external access to corporate financial accounts and diminished the accuracy of its inventory accounting.
Managers allegedly hid security breaches and operated “internal compliance teams” with insufficient funds and oversight.
This is another problem with all the corporate cost-cutting practices these days. Any part of the company that doesn’t genertate a profit is starved of funds and shoved aside in the avarice of CEO’s and their ilk and encouraged by stokholders.demanding ever increasing stock valuations.
According to the lawsuit, McKesson simply reshipped orders when products were not received or were incorrectly labeled and did not investigate or report the problem.
Similar allegations are being made in related lawsuits from thousands of municipalities
The Food and Drug Administration sent McKesson a warning letter on Feb. 7 that detailed several violations. McKesson failed to mitigate mislabeled prescriptions sent to Rite Aid and GlaxoSmithKline. Three Rite Aid pharmacies received bottles labeled as containing 100 oxycodone pills that were broken and had been replaced with other drugs.
I’ve been complaining about the lack of scrutiny in the supply chain for years since that’s the most likely source of the millions of “real” opioid pills that ended up on the streets.
Those huge quantities could not have come from grandma’s medicine cabinet or even individuals selling their pills – the volume of diversion was just too much.
McKesson’s internal investigation revealed that the tampering occurred while the drugs were in its possession, but the company did not identify all of the illegitimate product, notify its clients or alert authorities, according to the letter.
Distributors maintain that the lawsuits are misguided because the companies don’t manufacture the drugs or promote or prescribe prescription medications to the public and actively combat the diversion of opioids.
This is like kindergarten kids all pointing fingers at everyone else saying “it wasn’t me, it was him”. Something has gone very wrong in the corporate culture when such behavior is tolerated (remember, the government chose not to intervene).