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Drug firms shipped 20.8 million opioids to WV town with 2,900 people

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The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee reported that over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million opioid analgesics to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a West Virginia town with a population of 2,900.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee reported that over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million opioid analgesics to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a West Virginia town with a population of 2,900. The committee cited the massive shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone to the town of Williamson, amid the panel's inquiry into the role of drug distributors in the opioid epidemic. "These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia," said committee chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in a joint statement. The panel recently sent letters to regional drug wholesalers Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith, asking why the companies increased opioid shipments and did not flag suspicious drug orders from pharmacies while overdose deaths were surging across West Virginia. The letters outline high-volume shipments to pharmacies over consecutive days and huge spikes in pain drug numbers from year to year. Between 2006 and 2016, drug wholesalers shipped 10.2 million hydrocodone doses and 10.6 million oxycodone doses to Tug Valley Pharmacy and Hurley Drug in Williamson, according to DEA data obtained by the House Committee.

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