CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Opioid distributor companies and a retired DEA official pointed the finger at each other during a trial in Charleston on Wednesday, stating their counterparts were unclear in communication, which fueled the opioid crisis across Appalachia.
Both Joe Rannazzisi, head of the Office of Diversion Control for the Drug Enforcement Administration from 2006-15, and the distributors argued that the other side disregarded requests to comply with regulations and policies, which could have guided them in stopping opioid pills being illegally diverted as they flowed into local communities.
Paul Schmidt, an attorney for McKesson, said the distributors had been working with a similar system of policies for 35 years, but when Rannazzisi came into his position he made a series of drastic changes. He said the defendants worked tirelessly to change its suspicious order monitoring policies and programs following meetings with the DEA, but efforts to satisfy Rannazzisi fell short because he was unclear in his statements.
Rannazzisi said it was the distributors who failed to follow DEA policies, which led to several immediate suspension orders and large monetary settlements with several distribution centers run by the defendants…