Attorney Sends Powerful Message to Drug Wholesalers and Pharmacies

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It’s a case that had a huge impact on the nation, and specifically West Virginia.

A company prosecuted for distributing millions of pills was forced to change their ways after an intense investigation in the Northern Panhandle.

After the largest drug settlement of its kind, the Department of Justice, specifically the US attorneys office in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, is sending a powerful message to drug wholesalers and pharmacies.

“It may seem as though nobody’s looking, but we are,” said Alan McGonigal, Assistant US Attorney, Northern District of WV.

The catalyst was an investigation into a doctor from Grant County West Virginia. Dr. Masih was addicted to narcotics and giving pills to patients by writing illegitimate prescriptions.

He was prosecuted, and did time in federal prison.

Alan McGonigal’s team in the Northern Panhandle investigated the pharmacy filling those prescriptions, and prosecuted them, then they looked at where they were getting their pills. That investigation led them to McKesson.

“You’re not going to see settlements like this, the one with McKesson, every year or every five years, but you’re going to see them periodically,” McGonigal said.

But has this actually had an effect on the opioid epidemic?

“I think it will help in places like West Virginia, because now McKesson has real safe-guards in place to spot suspicious orders, report those to the DEA, and I think that’s going to change them, they’ll change the culture,” said McGonigal.

McGonigal says $150 million is a huge payout, even for a Fortune 500 company.

He hopes the settlement doesn’t just change the culture of drug wholesalers, but here in the Northern Panhandle with our doctors and pharmacists. 

“The US Attorney’s office and really fine investigators with the DEA and other agencies are really trying to do something about the opioid epidemic,” said McGonigal.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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