Drug distributor to pay $22 million to settle U.S charges over opioids

(Reuters) - Morris & Dickson Co, one of the largest U.S. wholesale drug distributors, agreed to pay $22 million in civil penalties to resolve U.S

Reuters May 25, 2019 02:06:09 IST
Drug distributor to pay $22 million to settle U.S charges over opioids

Drug distributor to pay 22 million to settle US charges over opioids

(Reuters) - Morris & Dickson Co, one of the largest U.S. wholesale drug distributors, agreed to pay $22 million in civil penalties to resolve U.S. government charges that it failed to report suspicious orders of the opioids hydrocodone and oxycodone.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which announced the settlement on Friday, said the Shreveport, Louisiana-based company will also spend millions of dollars to hire staff and upgrade oversight to ensure it meets federal requirements for reporting suspicious orders of controlled substances.

Morris & Dickson is the largest privately owned wholesale drug distributor in the United States, and fourth largest overall, with more than $4 billion of revenue in the year ended Jan. 31, 2018, the Justice Department said.

"We acknowledge we made mistakes," Morris & Dickson said in a statement, adding that the settlement was not an admission of liability.

Friday's settlement came after New York-based drug distributor Rochester Drug Co-operative Inc on April 23 accepted a $20 million fine to settle U.S. criminal charges it ignored red flags over its own opioid shipments.

That case marked the first time the U.S. government brought felony charges against a large drug distributor for exacerbating the nationwide opioid crisis.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Chicago; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler)

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