Drug company, former CEO charged in opioid crisis

Posted at 4:31 PM, Apr 23, 2019

(NBC News) Federal prosecutors have charged Rochester Drug Co-Operative, its former CEO and another top executive with drug trafficking.

It’s the first time such an indictment has been filed against a major drug distributor.

“My office filed criminal information and civil action against RDC, charging it with unlawfully distributing oxycodone and fentanyl, defrauding the DEA, and failing to report suspicious orders to the DEA,” Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Tuesday.

Former CEO Lawrence Doud is facing conspiracy charges. Prosecutors say he ordered subordinates to ignore warning signs.

“At Doud’s direction, the company’s oxycodone and fentanyl distribution increased dramatically from 2012-2016. As alleged, Doud directed RDC to supply pharmacies without doing any due diligence on them,” Berman said.

RDC has released a statement which says in part: “We made mistakes,” and “RDC understands that these mistakes, directed by former management, have serious consequences.”

Authorities say this investigation will be used as a model, and vowed to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

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