The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the issuance of an Immediate Suspension Order served on Morris & Dickson Company, a wholesale pharmaceutical distributor, located in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Morris & Dickson Company has been the subject of a DEA investigation that alleges that this distribution center failed to properly identify large suspicious orders for controlled substances sold to independent pharmacies with questionable need for the drugs. The investigation, which focused primarily on purchases of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, revealed that in some cases, pharmacies were allowed to purchase as much as six times the quantity of narcotics the pharmacy would normally order. In spite of regulations which require distributors to identify such orders, DEA alleges that Morris & Dickson Company failed to identify these large suspicious orders resulting in millions of dosage units of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone being distributed in violation of the law.
"Opioid distributors have a legal obligation not to facilitate the illicit diversion of drugs," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "That obligation has never been more important than it is right now as we face the deadliest drug crisis in American history. According to the allegations, many large suspicious orders for opioids were made, filled, and unreported by Morris and Dickson. We can only imagine how many pills were diverted, abused, and how many addictions began as a result. Today's suspension will help us achieve the President's goals of reducing opioid prescriptions in the United States and stopping the spread of addiction. I want to thank the DEA for their vigilance, for all of their hard work. The Justice Department will continue to use suspensions, deregistrations, and every other tool we have to stop the drug epidemic."
“Distributors have an obligation to ensure that all pharmaceutical controlled substances their customers order are for legitimate use, and it is their duty to identify, recognize and report suspicious orders to DEA,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “This is another reminder that DEA will hold accountable those companies who choose to operate outside the law.”
In October 2017, DEA became aware of the high-volume sales of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone from Morris & Dickson Company to five of the top ten purchasing pharmacies within the state of Louisiana. DEA records indicated that Morris & Dickson Company had not filed any suspicious order reports on any of the pharmacies in question in Louisiana. A review of the purchases made by these high-volume independent pharmacies showed that these pharmacies were purchasing quantities which were not indicative of the pharmaceutical market. Not only were numerous “independent” retail pharmacies purchasing more Oxycodone and Hydrocodone than the largest chain pharmacies operating within the state, they were purchasing more narcotics than several of the largest chain pharmacies combined within the same zip code. In some instances, DEA noted these “independent” pharmacies were purchasing more than ten times the amount of narcotics the average Louisiana pharmacy purchased per month.
DEA’s actions today suspend the DEA Certificate of Registration issued to Morris & Dickson Company as a drug distributor pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Sections 823 and 824. The DEA’s investigation of Morris & Dickson Company determined that the continued registration of this company constitutes a substantial likelihood of imminent danger to public health and safety. This action only applies to the distribution of controlled substances and will not affect non-controlled pharmaceutical drugs distributed by the company.
Morris & Dickson Company received written notice of the factual and legal basis for this action. In addition, they will be given the opportunity for an administrative hearing within the next 60 days. After the hearing, the DEA Acting Administrator will make a final decision on whether Morris & Dickson Company’s registration should be permanently revoked. This decision will be published in the Federal Register.
Today, more than four million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, including a quarter million adolescents. Sadly, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, more than deaths from motor vehicle crashes or deaths from firearms. Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.