2 drug distributors shipped 12M+ opioids to West Virginia pharmacy over 8 years: 7 things to know

McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health shipped 12.3 million doses of opioids to a small pharmacy in West Virginia between 2006 and 2014, according to an analysis conducted by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee cited by The Washington Post.

Here are seven things to know.

1. The committee analyzed data from the Drug Enforcement Administration and found Cardinal Health shipped Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va.-based Family Discount Pharmacy 6.5 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills between 2008 and 2012. Between 2006 and 2014, McKesson Corp. shipped 5.8 million opioid pills to the pharmacy. In 2010, the town's population was 1,779, according to the Post.

2. The committee sent a letter to McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, requesting more information on steps the companies took to minimize the diversion of opioids from 2006 to 2014. The Post did not included opioid shipment numbers for AmerisourceBergen in the report.

"We need detailed answers and documents from these national distributors as to why large volumes of opioids were distributed to certain areas of the state," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., committee chair, and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., the committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement cited by the Post. "West Virginians and families devastated by the opioid crisis all over the country deserve answers."

3. Cardinal Health confirmed receipt of the letter and told the Post "we look forward to cooperating with [the committee] in the future."

4. Gabe Weissman, spokesman for AmerisourceBergen, told the Post the company expects to engage in an "ongoing conversation with the committee while continuing our work with regulators, enforcement agencies and other participants in the health care system to do our part in combating prescription drug abuse."

5. McKesson Corp. did not respond to the Post's request for comment.

6. In January, the committee found drug distributors shipped nearly 21 million opioid pills to two West Virginia pharmacies during a six-year period. The pharmacies are located in a town with just 3,191 residents, as of 2010.

7. West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in the country. More than 880 West Virginians died of a drug overdose in 2016, according to the CDC.

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