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

Government2 weeks ago

New Year, New Laws for 2019

New year means new laws.

by , The Catholic American University
Equality3 weeks ago

Nancy Pelosi Elected Speaker of the House

Democrats continued to control the House on Thursday by electing Nancy Pelosi who returned to be the first woman to...

by , Mercy College
Government3 weeks ago

The House to Approve Legislation of Reopening of the Government

Late Thursday night, the new Democratic House passed bills that would reopen the government without paying for Trump’s border wall....

by , Mercy College
Government3 weeks ago

Elizabeth Warren Announces She is Running for President in 2020

On New Years Eve, Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D) Massachusetts, announced that she will become a candidate to enter the 2020...

by , Mercy College
Government4 weeks ago

Senator Elizabeth Warren Wants to Create a Public Option for Generic Drugs

The Massachusetts senator wants to take on big pharma.

by , The Catholic American University
Art1 month ago

Movie Review: Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

The Mexican director's latest reflects the modern state of the human experience.

by , The Catholic American University
Environment1 month ago

California Mandates All New Public Transit Buses Go Electric by 2029

The Golden State wants their buses more greener on the roads.

by , The Catholic American University
Government1 month ago

New York Governor Cuomo Pushes for Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in 2019

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019, according to...

by , Mercy College

Top Reads