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Teamsters Target Drug Wholesaler on Opioid Sales

March 9, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Philadelphia, PA - About 40 Teamsters Union members protested outside the Amerisource Bergen Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting here Mar. 2, demanding that the drug wholesaler police itself to prevent the diversion of opioid pills.

The company, based in the suburb of Chesterbrook, is the nation’s second-largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, and distributed more than 475 million prescription opioid pills in Pennsylvania in 2015, according to a December report by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. “They need to have control over their supply chain,” Carin Zelenko, director of the union’s capital strategies department, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The union has also targeted McKesson Corp, the largest drug wholesaler, on similar grounds. Both companies, along with third-ranked Cardinal Health, have settled DEA cases alleging that they failed to report questionable orders, the Inquirer said. The Teamsters campaign began after Travis Bornstein, president of Local 24 in Akron, Ohio, spoke at the union’s national meeting last June about how his 23-year-old son Tyler had been found dead in a vacant lot in 2014 after an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. He said his son had become addicted after taking prescription painkillers to recover from sports injuries and surgeries.  Read more

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