Bad Medicine

Over the last few months, the DEA has stepped up efforts to address the growing trend of prescription pain killer abuse.  In addition to addressing the issue at the clinic level, the DEA has decided to focus on stopping the situation at the wholesale level; part of this process has involved a number of wholesalers losing their DEA registrations.  As this occurred, we began receiving calls from clinics, brokers, pharmacies and other wholesalers looking for CII and CIII narcotics  As with so many other things in life, the products themselves are not the problem – it comes down to people.  The abusers always make it worse for the folks that follow the law and abide by good practices.

Some examples of ongoing issues:

  • Clinics opening as "pain management" specialists that dispense hundreds of bottles of Oxycodone on a daily basis to questionable patients visiting from all over the country.
  • Patients receiving their medication and mixing it into an injectable in the parking lot outside of the clinic and driving away under the influence.
  • People posing as patients to receive prescription narcotics and then illegally selling their prescription to addicts.
  • Online pharmacies dispensing pain killers without prescriptions

I was recently told by a DEA agent that 80% of the Oxycodone purchased in the United States was going through Florida.  A staggering statistic when you consider the size of our country.  As a wholesaler, we have always been careful to screen our new clinic customers and follow a clear set of practices when distributing all products, especially controlled substances.  The abuse is creating challenges for all suppliers ranging from increased governmental scrutiny, new laws and the need to be suspicious of everyone.  The end-result is higher costs and restricted trade.

We work with hundreds of clinics around the country.  Our customers are law-abiding physicians dispensing pharmaceuticals as an enhancement to their practice.  Patients appreciate the service and everyone wins.  Abuse is bad for everyone.  The clinics and pharmacies that choose to be pain killer "pill mills" are pursuing a dangerous and short-sighted path that can only end badly.  You know who you are; I hope you’ll heed the warning signs and stop.

For our part, Northwind Pharmaceuticals will continue to reject suspicious orders and report them to the appropriate authorities.  My hope is that reputable wholesalers, physicians and pharmacies will join together to stop the abuse.

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