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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
December 6, 2006
Contact: SA Sarah Pullen
Public Information Officer

Internet Pharmaceutical Supplier Shut Down

DEC 6 -- (RIVERSIDE) – Ralph W. Partridge, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the Immediate Suspension of the Federal Controlled Substance Registration of Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 60 Empire Drive, Lake Forest, California, has been the subject of a DEA investigation that alleges that the company was selling large quantities of controlled substances to internet pharmacies. The investigation has revealed that several of Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s largest purchasers of hydrocodone were pharmacies engaged in schemes to dispense controlled substances based on prescriptions that were written for other than legitimate medical purposes. This investigation began in July 2006, when DEA received information that Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s sales of hydrocodone had increased from approximately 7,000 dosage units per month to approximately 3,700,000 dosage units per month.

Ralph W. Partridge stated, “Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has a responsibility to ensure that the drugs they sell don’t end up in the hands of drug traffickers who pursue their illegal business over the Internet. Drug traffickers who push pills over the Internet operate without regard for public safety or medical necessity. Today’s action is an important step toward ensuring accountability of those who are supplying these pills.”

DEA’s action today was to suspend Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s DEA Certificate of Registration in accordance with an Immediate Suspension Order and pursuant to Sections 303 and 304 of the Controlled Substances Act, Title 21, Sections 823 and 824. The DEA’s investigation of Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has determined that the continued registration of this company constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety.

Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. received written notice of the factual and legal basis for this action. In addition, Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will be given an opportunity for an administrative hearing within the next 60 days. After the hearing, the DEA Deputy Administrator will make a final decision on whether Southwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s registration should be permanently revoked. This decision will be published in the Federal Register.

Hydrocodone is the generic name of an addictive prescription painkiller that is classified under federal narcotics laws as a Schedule III controlled substance. Hydrocodone is typically legally prescribed to combat acute, severe pain for legitimate medical purposes. Accordingly, these prescriptions are usually for a modest number of pills to be taken over a short period of time.

This is an on-going investigation. Please forward any questions to DEA Los Angeles Public Information Officer Sarah Pullen at (213) 621-6827.

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