REPORT: Springboro drug distributor benefited from weakened drug enforcement

FILE

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FILE

A Springboro pharmaceutical distributor benefited from an industry campaign to get Congress to weaken drug distribution enforcement, according to a new media investigation.

Miami-Luken was named in a Washington Post and 60 Minutes investigation into how the pharmaceutical drug industry lobbied Congress to weaken the Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments.

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Jim Geldhof, retired DEA program manager in Detroit, said in the report that he been investigating Miami-Luken, which had shipped a suspicious amount of prescriptions to West Virginia.

The company had shipped 20 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone to pharmacies in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012 and about 11 million wound up in Mingo County, with a population of 25,000.

Geldhof said the DEA’s legal office at headquarters ignored him for two years when he wanted to halt Miami-Luken’s operations, though before Geldhof left in 2015, the DEA accused the company of multiple violations of the law for allegedly failing to report orders for tens of millions of pain pills from pharmacies, most of them in West Virginia. That case is pending.

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Of the millions of pills sent to Mingo County, many went to one pharmacy in Williamson, with a population of 2,924. The report states in one month, Miami-Luken shipped 258,000 hydrocodone pills to the pharmacy, more than 10 times the typical amount for a West Virginia pharmacy.

The mayor of Williamson filed a lawsuit against Miami-Luken and other drug distributors, accusing them of flooding the city with pain pills and permitting them to saturate the black market.

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Explore“Like sharks circling their prey, multi-billion dollar companies descended upon Appalachia for the sole purpose of profiting off of the prescription drug-fueled feeding frenzy,” the lawsuit states.

Miami-Luken is additionally facing a Congressional investigation. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce requested Miami-Luken turn over documents related to its shippments and the company's ousted former chief executive, Anthony Rattini.

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