Drug executives express regret over opioid crisis

George Barrett, executive chairman of Cardinal Health, apologized Tuesday for the company’s role in facilitating the flow of highly addictive analgesics into U.S. communities, the first time a corporation has expressed regret for involvement in the opioid crisis.

George Barrett, executive chairman of Cardinal Health, apologized Tuesday for the company’s role in facilitating the flow of highly addictive analgesics into U.S. communities, the first time a corporation has expressed regret for involvement in the opioid crisis. Speaking before a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight panel, Barrett said he is sorry the company did not act faster to impede the shipping of millions of hydrocodone and oxycodone drugs to two small pharmacies in West Virginia. "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we had moved faster and asked a different set of questions," Barrett said. "I am deeply sorry we did not. Today, I am confident we would reach different conclusions about those two pharmacies." Other drug-distribution executives expressed regret over their companies' involvement in the crisis. The testimony came before a subcommittee that has spent a year investigating drug dumping in West Virginia by wholesale drug distributors, which are required by law to submit suspicious drug orders to DEA. If orders and sales are not correctly reported, it can ease the diversion of drugs to the black market, where they are often sold at a premium, fueling addiction. In addition to Cardinal, executives from AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, Miami-Luken, and H.D. Smith testified.