Connect with us

Health

McKesson Corp Accused of Pooling Cancer Medication for Profit

Profiting from illness is a straight ticket to hell.

Ginny Dang

Published

on

A lawsuit filed late last Tuesday afternoon in New York federal court alleges that McKesson Corp, one of  “Big Three” U.S. drug distributors, has been skimming excess oncology drugs from prepackaged vials such as Aloxi, Procrit, and so on.

Pharmaceutical company McKesson and two of its subsidiaries employed a scheme to repackage the “overfill” from these vials of oncology drugs into non-sterile syringes, sometimes with fake product codes and expiration dates. These new syringes were then sold to cancer centers, medical practices, and physicians. According to   the new complaint required by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, each vial initially contained as much as 10 percent more than would be put in a syringe, to guarantee that each syringe could be properly filled.  The vials were labeled as single-use and the drugs have no preservatives that prevent bacteria from growing, especially after a single puncture. The distributor is meant to dispose of the left-over medication. According to George Carpinello, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, McKesson allegedly “harvested” overfill, producing about one extra syringe for every ten legitimates ones.

Moreover, distributors aren’t charged for overfill. “They set up a scheme to give medical providers an opportunity to charge Medicare and Medicaid for free drugs, which is illegal” Carpinello added.

Omni Healthcare, a Florida-based healthcare provider, filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself, the federal government, thirty state governments, and the city governments of Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Omni alleged that since 2007, McKesson has repackaged medication and defrauded federal, state and local governments out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Omni estimated that since McKesson began this scheme, they have spent approximately $3 million on illegal oncology drugs. 

McKesson could face a $10,000 fine per False Claims Act violation, as well as treble damages. The suit also claims Oncology Therapeutics Network, which McKesson acquired in 2007, and U.S. Oncology, which McKesson acquired in 2010, as defendants.

Even though non-sterile conditions can put the drugs into the state of being open to contamination, it remains unclear whether the alleged practice is harmful to patients. However, immune systems of cancer patients are especially vulnerable to bacteria and infections. McKesson “presumably assumed that any infections and resulting patient deaths would likely be falsely attributed to the patient’s disease and treatment, as opposed to healthcare providers’ unwittingly administering non-sterile and unapproved drugs,” according to the complaint.

Recently, in January 2018, McKesson faced lawsuits by attorneys general in Kentucky West Virginia, Delaware and New Mexico for ignoring shipments of suspiciously large orders by pharmacies of prescription opioid.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Ginny is a junior Psychology major at Trinity College. She aspires to cultivate the spirit of a journalist and an essayist in her quest to become a writer.

Sign up for the Morning Scoop

and wake up with us each day.

CMN Reports

National News1 day ago

CNN Sues Trump Administration Over Jim Acosta Access

CNN file a lawsuit against President Trump

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms4 days ago

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Wins a Third Term

Many government officials from New York were reelected and new faces were elected into government in Tuesday's Midterm Election.

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms6 days ago

Electoral Reform and Voting Rights Expansion Won Big in the Midterms

From Florida to Michigan, voting rights expansions and electoral reform are making gains.

by , The Catholic American University
National News6 days ago

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fracturing Ribs in a Fall

The Supreme Court Justice fell in the office on Wednesday night

by , Cal Poly SLO
Academics1 week ago

Analysis: Adolescent Mental Health Issues are on the Rise and Gun Violence is to Blame

Children are rightfully beginning to fear going to school because of the massive amount of school shootings within recent years.

by , The College of New Jersey
Health2 weeks ago

First FDA Approved Cannabis-Based Drug Available for Prescription

CBD has been known to treat seizures for years, but now the FDA is on board, making it legal for...

by , CMN Senior Correspondent
Government2 weeks ago

Multiple Suspicious Devices Sent to Prominent People in the Democratic Party

Several devices sent to various locations within a few days.

by , Mercy College
Government2 weeks ago

Authorities Make Arrest in Mail Bomb Case

The pipe bomber was identified as Cesar Sayoc, Jr. from Aventura, Florida.

by , Mercy College

Top Reads