By Bruce Rushton. Smith celebrated a half-century in business. Smith are used by people in need, whether ill, uncomfortable or with a Commpany that must be fulfilled. But now Companu company is in crosshairs, accused of distributing potentially deadly opioids to pharmacies in Appalachia and other places with high addiction rates and plenty of red flags signaling that the drugs were being abused and sold on the black market.

Smith, along with other drug wholesalers, are defendants in scores of lawsuits filed by state and local governments across the Wbolesale that blame the companies for selling addictive drugs like so much candy. An investigation is underway by the U. House Energy and Commerce Committee, with politicians hinting at the possibility of criminal charges.

Smith, asking for information on the sale of millions of doses of painkillers to tiny pharmacies in West Virginia. Smith Wholesale Drug Co. He was fresh from South Carolina, where his brother Jim ran J. Smith Corp. The move to Springfield was equal parts plan and dream.

The Smith family is firmly rooted in pharmaceuticals, and James Smith, Sr. He set his sights on Springfield after visiting relatives in the capital city, but died unexpectedly in before he could make the Hd Smith Wholesale Drug Company.

Instead, Henry, like his late father a licensed pharmacist, moved from the South to Springfield to conquer the drug wholesaling world. He largely succeeded. Early on, sales doubled every five years, according to the company history, thanks to such innovations as partnering with the Springfield Register newspaper, whose delivery trucks dropped drugs from H.

Smith at pharmacies throughout central Illinois. Bythe company had outgrown its building and so moved to a new warehouse and Dtug at Industrial Drive. The building remains a distribution center, but corporate headquarters moved to a larger building on Fiat Avenue in The move came amid a buying spree that saw H.

Smith acquire wholesalers throughout the nation so that the company ultimately became the fourth-largest drug wholesaler in the United States. It is, top executives have said, a matter of swallowing competitors or getting swallowed yourself. So you have to run faster and faster just to stay even.

If you want to grow, you have to run even faster. Quietly, the H. Smith was acquiring other wholesalers and opening divisions in Kentucky, New England, Florida and elsewhere, drugs sold by the company were causing problems.

Doctors either crooked or clueless have written prescriptions to addicts. Drug manufacturers suckered physicians with marketing campaigns that overplayed benefits of painkillers while soft-pedaling the danger of addiction.

Pharmacies working hand-in-hand with pill mills dispensed prescriptions at breakneck speed. And the government, critics say, enabled it all with weak enforcement of regulations and laws favoring the drug industry, which lavished campaign contributions on elected officials. After years of near-unchecked production, the Drug Enforcement Administration, which sets annual ceilings on manufacturing of prescription drugs, rolled back the quota by 25 percent.

This year, the DEA dropped the quota by another 20 percent at the Whholesale of elected officials including Sen. Dick Durbin, who last summer was one of 16 senators, all Democrats, who sent a letter to the DEA noting that the agency had dramatically increased quotas for addictive painkillers during the Impossible Burger Company Stock two decades.

During that same time period, the DEA approved a fold increase in production quotas for fentanyl. Inthe company Hd Smith Wholesale Drug Company guilty to criminal charges for misleading the government, physicians and patients Infinity Dance Company the dangers of OxyContin. Faced with scores of pending lawsuits, Purdue in February announced that it would end marketing campaigns of OxyContin to doctors.

As part of the supply chain, drug distributors also have fallen under scrutiny, and so H. Smith and other wholesalers have been hit with lawsuits and government inquiries, including the letter sent by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Citing data from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the HHd wrote that H. That same year, H. The committee based part of its concerns on stories in the Gazette-Mail, which has reported that H. Speaking on background, a staff member for the committee wrote in an email that the committee has received a partial response from H.

Christopher Smith and his brother, Dale, who together ran the company until its recent sale, declined an interview request sent via H. D Smith spokeswoman Sarah Company Birthday Email Template. The letter came one year after H. Smith agreed to the third-highest amount. District Court Judge Richard Mills ruled in favor of the insurer inbut was overturned on appeal.

Lawsuits keep coming against H. Smith and other wholesalers as counties, cities and states demand that distributors help pay for a public health crisis the companies helped create. Lawsuits against H. One of the biggest settlements came last year as McKesson Corp. They distribute the ball. The former director was reportedly forced into retirement three years ago after telling Hd Smith Wholesale Drug Company congressional staffer that a proposed change in law aimed at altering enforcement procedures against drug wholesalers amounted to protecting criminals.

Wholesalers have said that the law needed to be changed because the DEA had too much latitude to define what constituted a public health threat and so suspend licenses and otherwise initiate enforcement proceedings. The companies say that legitimate patients were at risk of losing access to opioids due to DEA enforcement actions. Even before the law changed, enforcement actions dropped as DEA lawyers, starting inbegan demanding a higher standard of proof before field investigators could take action against wholesalers, according to a Wholeeale Post report.

Indeed, the Smih came off as diligent in the Post report, which documented the demise of Gulf Coast Pharmacy in Florida, whose proprietors were convicted of federal drug Smth in Smith cut off shipments to a Gulf Coast pharmacy in after a company investigator, suspicious of orders for painkillers, visited the pharmacy and found customers standing in line, cash in hand. Smith alerted Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, that a California pharmacy Druy ordering large quantities of the drug.

Smith called the DEA, but the wholesaler stopped shipping painkillers to the pharmacy. Ultimately, the pharmacy owner, who had been filling Co,pany written at a pill mill where the homeless were recruited as patients, was convicted of criminal charges. Pressure on drug wholesalers to curb suspicious sales is coming from shareholders of publicly traded distributors. Smith in January. Francis in Philadelphia, which owns stock in AmerisourceBergen. The Sisters of St. Francis recently forced the company to ask shareholders whether the corporation should prepare a report on what steps the board of directors has taken to address the opioid crisis and prevent painkillers from falling into the wrong hands and what responsibility the board bears for overseeing opioid risks.

And I should say they have made progress, too. All of them have expressed a concern about the epidemic. But solutions, she said, will require involvement of the entire prescription drug industry as well as government and shareholders of drug companies.

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