A 75-year-old former chief executive officer of a major drug manufacturer, the Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC), has been charged with conspiracy to traffic narcotics -- along with a host of other charges related to his actions while opioids were flooding the market from 2012 onward.
Many people see this move by federal prosecutors as a warning shot that signals a change in how the government plans to tackle the ongoing drug crisis that has plagued the nation ever since opioid painkillers were mass-marketed to doctors and consumers alike as "safe" for use.
Prosecutors say that RDC's former executive deliberately ignored suspicious orders of drugs from pharmacies -- orders that were clearly too large to be being used appropriately. When compliance officers at RDC voiced their concerns, the executive overrode them and made certain the pills and patches were shipped -- even to pharmacies that other drug distributors were refusing to supply because of their suspicious behavior.
There is no doubt that this case is both unique and raising eyebrows. It's the first time that a pharmaceutical executive has been charged with drug trafficking for purposefully putting his wallet before the safety of the public. Records indicate that the executive's salary was clearly tied to the explosion in profits his company saw -- and his personal income doubled in just four years as a result.
This is going to be one legal trial that will be watched closely. If prosecutors are successful, it could mean serious issues for other pharmaceutical executives and distributors across the nation who may have either committed similar willful acts or just turned a blind eye to obvious problems.
If you have any concerns about your past role in a pharmaceutical company, it isn't too early to consult with an experienced attorney. It's better to be prepared than to be taken by surprise.