System for reporting suspicious opioid orders repeatedly failed, report finds

A Senate report outlines systematic failures in the reporting system for suspicious opioid orders, criticizing some drug distributors and manufacturers for their roles. The report, released Thursday, also faults DEA for a years-long lull in enforcement actions. The findings, the latest in a series of reports from Sen.

A Senate report outlines systematic failures in the reporting system for suspicious opioid orders, criticizing some drug distributors and manufacturers for their roles. The report, released Thursday, also faults DEA for a years-long lull in enforcement actions. The findings, the latest in a series of reports from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, pointed in particular to disparities between two leading drug distributors: McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. The two distributors each shipped approximately 650 million doses of opioids to Missouri between 2012 and 2017. However, the number of orders each company flagged to authorities as suspicious were nowhere close: just 224 from AmerisourceBergen and 16,714 from McKesson. McCaskill's latest report found that "certain major distributors and manufacturers have consistently failed to meet their anti-diversion obligations." The report also highlighted differences between how pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids worked with DEA. Endo Pharmaceuticals flagged hundreds of orders and conducted further internal reviews but concluded none was suspicious enough to report to the DEA. Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, reported every order it flagged regardless of what its internal review found. Nonetheless, McCaskill's report noted, DEA had estimated that Mallinckrodt "failed to report at least 43,991 opioid orders."