Miami-Luken, 265 S. Pioneer Blvd. Springboro. STAFF PHOTO

Springboro drug distributor called to testify before Congressional committee

The chairman of a Springboro pharmaceutical distributor will testify before a Congressional committee investigating whether wholesalers flooded West Virginia with dangerous levels of prescription opioids.

Dr. Joseph Mastandrea, chairman of the board at Miami-Luken, will join four executives at other distributors also called to testify May 8 before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight panel.

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The entire prescription painkiller pipeline has come under accusation of contributing to the opioid crisis, from prescription manufacturers, to distributors, to prescribers, to pharmacies.

The distributors like Miami-Luken buy prescription drugs from manufacturers and then distribute them to pharmacies that place orders for the drugs. The distributors are accused of profiting off of selling unsafe volumes of prescription pills to West Virginia, when investigators say the companies instead should have reported suspiciously large orders to authorities.

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The other testifying executives will be AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, known as the “big three” distributors, as well as the former president and CEO of H.D. Smith, a distributor that sold in January to AmerisourceBergen.

The oversight committee has been looking into the issue for almost a year after first requesting information from the big three distributors May 8, 2017.

According to documents provided by Miami-Luken at the request of the committee, more than 24 million high power painkillers were shipped by Miami-Luken to four small pharmacies in West Virginia between 2005 and 2015. In one rural town in 2008 alone, that divided out to 5,624 pills for every person in town including children.

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“Today, we have a more complete picture of what happened in places like West Virginia, and we will hold all parties accountable for their actions,” stated Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., also chairman of the oversight committee. “I, along with my colleagues, urge our witnesses to help us complete this puzzle so we can ensure this will never happen again.”

Miami-Luken is separately fighting a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration effort to take away its distribution license.

A request for comment was left with Miami-Luken’s attorney, but he has previously said the company is fully cooperating with the committee, but pending litigation with the DEA which makes it not appropriate to talk about specifics.

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