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Drug Enforcement Administration


Keith Martin , Special Agent in Charge

July 11, 2017

Contact: Brian McNeal

Phone Number: (571) 362-1498

Mallinckrodt Agrees To Pay $35 Million Record Settlement For Failure To Report Suspicious Orders Of Pharmaceutical Drugs And For Recordkeeping Violations

DETROIT, Mich. - Mallinckrodt LLC, a pharmaceutical manufacturer and one of the largest manufacturers of generic oxycodone, agreed to pay $35 million to settle allegations that it violated certain provisions of the Controlled Substances (CSA) that are subject to civil penalties.  Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch and Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA) Detroit Field Division announced today.

This is the first settlement of its magnitude with a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals resolving nationwide claims that the company did not meet its obligations to detect and notify DEA of suspicious orders of controlled substances such as oxycodone, the abuse of which is part of the current opioid epidemic. These suspicious order monitoring requirements exist to prevent excessive sales of controlled substances, like oxycodone in Florida and elsewhere. The settlement also addressed violations in the company’s manufacturing batch records at its plant in Hobart, New York. Both sets of alleged violations impact accountability for controlled substances, and the compliance terms going forward are designed to help protect against diversion of these substances at critical links in the controlled substance supply chain. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge Plancon stated, “This settlement reflects DEA’s commitment to the public health and safety by holding DEA registered manufacturers accountable and requiring them to do their due diligence by knowing the downstream customer. This investigation let’s all DEA registrants know that they need to use all of their resources and tools to detect and report suspicious orders.” 

Acting United States Attorney Lemisch stated, “We're grateful for the work of the DEA who have invested countless hours investigating this first of its kind case.  This settlement continues our fight against the opioid epidemic by requiring all in the supply chain not to participate in suspicious orders: physicians, pharmacies, distributors and now - manufacturers.” 

The government alleged that Mallinckrodt failed to design and implement an effective system to detect and report “suspicious orders” for controlled substances - orders that are unusual in their frequency, size, or other patterns. From 2008 until 2011, the U.S. alleged, Mallinckrodt supplied distributors, and the distributors then supplied various U.S. pharmacies and pain clinics, an increasingly excessive quantity of oxycodone pills without notifying DEA of these suspicious orders. Through its investigation, the government learned that manufacturers of pharmaceuticals offer discounts, known as “chargebacks,” based on sales to certain downstream customers.  Distributors provide information on the downstream customer purchases to obtain the discount.  The groundbreaking nature of the settlement involves requiring a manufacturer to utilize chargeback and similar data to monitor and report to DEA suspicious sales of its oxycodone at the next level in the supply chain, typically sales from distributors to independent and small chain pharmacy and pain clinic customers.
The government also alleged that Mallinckrodt violated record keeping requirements at its manufacturing facility in upstate New York. Among other things, these violations created discrepancies between the actual number of tablets manufactured in a batch and the number of tablets Mallinckrodt reported on its records. Accurate reconciliation of records at the manufacturing stage is a critical first step in ensuring that controlled substances are accounted for properly through the supply chain.

In addition to the significant monetary penalty, this settlement includes a groundbreaking parallel agreement with the DEA, as a result of which the company will analyze data it collects on orders from customers down the supply chain to identify suspicious sales. The resolution advances the DEA’s position that controlled substance manufacturers need to go beyond “know your customer” to use otherwise available company data to “know your customer’s customer” to protect these potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals from getting into the wrong hands. DEA’s Memorandum of Agreement with Mallinckrodt also sets forth specific procedures it will undertake to ensure the accuracy of batch records and protect loss of raw product in the manufacturing process.

By entering into these agreements, elements of which Mallinckrodt is already implementing, the company is becoming part of the solution to this public health epidemic.
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