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Drug Enforcement Administration

DEA Headquarters

February 14, 2018

Contact: National Media Affairs Office

Phone Number: (202) 307-7977

DEA Creates New Resource To Help Distributors Avoid Oversupplying Opioids

Change in sales reporting database gives drug companies access to more information on purchasing

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has launched a new tool to assist drug manufacturers and distributors with their regulatory obligations under the Controlled Substances Act. This new resource is an example of the many ways DEA is working collaboratively with its 1.73 million registrants to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States.

DEA added a new feature to its ARCOS Online Reporting System, a comprehensive drug reporting system that monitors the flow of controlled substances from their point of manufacture through commercial distribution channels to the point of sale at the dispensing/retail level. This newly added function will allow the more than 1,500 DEA-registered manufacturers and distributors to view the number of competitors who have sold a particular controlled substance to a prospective customer in the last six months. 

DEA regulations require distributors to both “know their customer,” and to develop a system to identify and report suspicious orders. Manufacturers and distributors have consistently expressed a desire for assistance from DEA in fulfilling these obligations and have requested ARCOS information to help them make informed decisions about whether new customers are purchasing excessive quantities of controlled substances. This new tool will provide valuable information for distributors to consider as part of their assessment. For example, if a query resulted in a large number of suppliers who have recently sold opioid analgesics to a prospective purchaser, this may represent a “red flag” to the new distributor and foster a dialogue between that distributor and the pharmacy. 

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