CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A retired high-ranking official with the Drug Enforcement Administration has testified that three large opioid distributors had a “systematic failure” in monitoring suspicious pill orders.
Joe Rannazzisi, former head of the Office of Diversion Control for the DEA from 2006 to 2015, testified Tuesday in Charleston in a landmark civil case brought by Cabell County and the city of Huntington that accuses AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. of fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic.
The companies say poor communication and pill quotas set by federal agents are to blame, along with a rise in prescriptions written by doctors.
Rannazzisi testified that the defendants didn’t report suspicious orders to the DEA due to a failure with their monitoring systems, The Herald-Dispatch reported. He said the DEA asked the companies in 2005 to rein in their distribution practices. A follow-up review of pill shipping data found the flow of pills was not reduced.