House panel to question opioid distributors

Executives from five drug distributors will be on the Hill Tuesday to face questions about why millions of prescriptions opioids were shipped to small towns in West Virginia, which has the nation's highest drug overdose rate.

Executives from five drug distributors will be on the Hill Tuesday to face questions about why millions of prescriptions opioids were shipped to small towns in West Virginia, which has the nation's highest drug overdose rate. "As we work to develop solutions to combat the opioid crisis, we must fully understand the root causes of it—and this investigation is an important part of that process," said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. According to Harper, leaders from five firms—McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Miami-Luken, and H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co.—will speak to the subcommittee. "Through their testimony, we hope to gain a more complete picture of the crisis that unfolded in West Virginia and across our nation," he said. Lawmakers hope to learn more about the companies' practices in West Virginia following reports that distributors may have supplied the state with questionably high amounts of opioids. In Kermit, WV, for example, a community with just 406 people, one pharmacy received nearly 9 million opioid tablets over 2 years the House subcommittee said.