Ohio pharmaceutical distributor accused of flooding Appalachia with opioids

Ohio pharmaceutical distributor accused of flooding Appalachia with opioids

An Ohio pharmaceutical distributor has been accused in a criminal indictment of scheming to flood parts of rural Appalachia with millions of painkillers, contributing to the opioid epidemic.

Miami-Luken was charged with conspiring to provide hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to more than 200 pharmacies in Ohio, West Virginia, Indian and Tennessee, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Thursday.

Also indicted were Miami-Luken’s former president Anthony Rattini, 71, the firm’s former compliance officer, and two West Virginia pharmacists, the paper reported.

Benjamin Glassman, United States Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio, speaks during a news conference, Thursday. Federal authorities say Miami-Luken, an Ohio-based wholesale drug distributor that’s been linked before to the opioid drug crisis, has been charged in a painkiller pill conspiracy cases. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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“They and other co-conspirators are alleged to have knowingly entered into an agreement to distribute … outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose,” said Cincinnati U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, who announced the indictment Thursday.

Rattini, the compliance officer and Miami-Luken allegedly distributed more than 4.9 million pain pills to Westside Pharmacy in Oceana, West Virginia, a town of approximately 1,394 people, Fox 19 Cincinnati reported.

Westside pharmacist Devonna Miller-West, 49, was one of the four individuals charged in the indictment with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

The firm allegedly filled suspicious orders for opioids even after receiving a warning from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the station reported.

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The Washington Post reported being unable to reach Rattini and the other three indicted individuals, or to identify their attornies.

Glassman said authorities mean to “hold accountable” anyone criminally involved at any point in drug distribution.

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“If you are intentionally violating the law, you can and should and will face justice regardless of where you are,” Glassman said. “Whether you are on the street corner or in a boardroom.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Source : Robert Gearty Link

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