Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden presses drug distributors for answers following year-long investigation into alleged opioid pill dumping

May 8, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden presses drug distributors for answers following year-long investigation into alleged opioid pill dumping

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks during today’s hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Following a year-long bipartisan investigation into alleged opioid pill dumping in rural communities, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today pressed the nation’s top drug distributors for answers as to their role in the opioid crisis. Walden, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stressed the need for drug distributors to recognize their responsibility to help combat the crisis.

“You have a unique set of resources and tools at your disposal, and a shared responsibility in flagging suspicious activity and diversion. You are supposed to be one of the first lines of defense in this crisis,” said Walden. “Instead, the information uncovered by this investigation over the last year is stunning. There is no logical explanation for why a town of approximately 400 people would receive 9 million opioid pills in two years. Or why a single pharmacy in a town of about 1,800 people would receive nearly 17 million opioid pills in a decade. Then there are the two pharmacies in a nearby town of 2,900 people which received nearly 21 million opioids in the same time frame. No matter how you cut this data, behind each of these numbers was a pill mill. And they proliferated for far too long.”

Today’s hearing comes as Walden continues to investigate the opioid distribution practices of national and regional drug distributors, particularly in regards to alleged pill dumping in West Virginia. Walden, along with a bipartisan group of committee leaders, first requested information from the nation’s “top three” distributors -- AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson -- on May 8, 2017. In September 2017, the committee probed a fourth distributor, Miami-Luken. In January 2018, the committee sent a follow-up letter to Miami-Luken and probed a fifth distributor, H.D. Smith. In February 2018, the committee sent follow-up questions to AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee heard from the following witnesses today:

  • Mr. John Hammergren, Chairman, President and CEO, McKesson Corporation;
  • Mr. George Barrett, Executive Chairman of the Board, Cardinal Health Inc.;
  • Mr. Steven Collis, Chairman, President and CEO, AmerisourceBergen Corporation;
  • Dr. Joseph Mastandrea, Chairman of the Board, Miami-Luken, Inc.; and
  • Mr. J. Christopher Smith, former President and CEO, H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company.

During the hearing, Walden said that understanding the root causes of the opioid crisis is critical to ending this scourge that is plaguing communities in Oregon and across the country.

“We owe it to the 115 Americans who die every day from opioid overdoses, and their loved ones, to understand what led to this crisis and to identify solutions to stem the tide,” said Walden.

For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and archived webcast, please click here.