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Cardinal Health Shipments Suspended Under Agreement with DEA

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Drug wholesale company Cardinal Health said Tuesday it will suspend shipments of controlled substances from a warehouse in Florida for two years, under an agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Reuters reports the company also agreed to work to improve security procedures at its distribution center in Lakeland, Florida, to ensure that opioids are not diverted into the wrong hands. The company is not shutting down the facility, and operations there will continue, according to Cardinal Health.

“This agreement allows us to put this matter behind us, and just as important, will clear the way for a more productive dialogue about how we and others in the health care and regulatory community can work together to prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” George Barrett, Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, said in a statement. The company noted the DEA confirmed it is planning no further administrative actions at other Cardinal Health facilities.

Earlier this year, the DEA charged Cardinal and four pharmacies with violating their licenses to sell controlled drugs. The DEA said Cardinal had an unusually high number of shipments of controlled painkillers to four pharmacies. The agency suspended Cardinal’s controlled substance license at its distribution center in Lakeland. The center serves 2,500 pharmacies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. After the DEA suspended the company’s license, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the DEA’s suspension order.

A federal judge then ruled that drug distribution companies must “self-police” to track unusually big drug shipments that might be used improperly. The ruling allowed the DEA to halt shipments of oxycodone and other controlled medications from the Cardinal Health distribution facility.

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