Friday, June 06, 2008

Cardinal Apologizes; NCPA Organizes

More fall-out from the ongoing saga of the DEA’s supply-chain-focused anti-diversion strategy. Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for a trip to HDMA’s meeting in Orlando to hear from the CA Board of Pharmacy and the DEA.


Cardinal Health (CAH) has recently started publicizing An Open Letter to Our Customers from Chairman and CEO Kerry Clark. It appeared on the inside cover of Drug Topics magazine, among other places.

The letter acknowledges an “unintentional” lack of due process that I described in my February interview with Washington pharmacist Richard Molitor. Here’s a key passage:

“In our zeal to do the right thing in addressing the diversion issue, we unintentionally put an undue burden on some of our legitimate and long-standing customers. This is disappointing to all of us, and we apologize to those customers who have been affected.”

George Barrett described the challenges facing Cardinal in refreshingly candid statements last month, which was an important first step. Mr. Clark’s letter is another step on the road to recovery.

Cardinal is still struggling to balance their enforcement responsibilities with the legitimate needs of pharmacies and patients. While Cardinal desperately needs to resolve its DEA issues, I think that the company still has an opportunity to recover from its missteps and regain some lost market share.


The NCPA, which represents independent pharmacies, is also concerned about the DEA’s efforts to make wholesalers responsible for stopping diversion by pharmacies. So, the group is “gathering information that Congress can use to exercise its oversight authority and get involved” according to this item on the NCPA web site.

NCPA is encouraging pharmacies that have had difficulties ordering C-IIs and C-IIIs through a wholesaler to e-mail the NCPA government affairs department. If you are skeptical, just keep in mind that the NCPA has demonstrated an impressive ability to gather affidavits from independent pharmacies, such as the 22 statements compiled for the First DataBank case. Stay tuned for more on this issue.


I will be at the HDMA’s Distribution Management Conference & Technology Expo in Orlando on Monday and Tuesday. Highlights of Monday’s program include presentations by:

  • Virginia Herold, Executive Director, California Board of Pharmacy
  • Mark Caverly, Chief Liaison and Policy Section, Office of Diversion Control, DEA

Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll be able to come with any good questions for those two?

I know that some Drug Channels readers will be there, too. Please take the opportunity to critique and/or praise me live and in person. Goofy won't be the only one in Orlando who will be fishing for compliments!

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 06, 2008

    Do you have any specific data on the market share loss? I have heard some stories but have not seen anything quantifiable. How has it affected Medicine Shoppe?

    I won't be at HDMA this year, but I would tell you to keep up teh great work!