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Judge grants Cardinal Health temporary restraining order against DEA


DUBLIN, Ohio — Cardinal Health was granted a temporary restraining order Friday against the Drug Enforcement Administration's suspension order of its Lakeland, Fla., distribution center.

A preliminary injunction hearing is currently scheduled for Feb. 13.

The move came after the DEA suspended registration of the Lakeland facility to distribute controlled medicines to pharmacy customers in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. According to Cardinal Health, DEA took this action after alleging that some of the prescriptions filled at four of the 2,500 pharmacies served out of that facility were not written for legitimate medical reasons.

"I will point out here that, at the time we filled these orders, the pharmacies held valid state board of pharmacy and DEA licenses," Cardinal Health chairman and CEO George Barrett said. "We are outraged that the DEA took this action."

"Friday’s operation at the Lakeland facility is not DEA’s first visit," the DEA stated in a release issued Monday. "In December 2007, DEA issued an Immediate Suspension Order at the location due to its distribution of hydrocodone to ‘rogue’ internet pharmacies." That action, and similar actions at other Cardinal Health facilities across the United States, resulted in a $34 million fine, the DEA added.

The DEA also suspended the registration of two CVS/pharmacy locations in Sanford, Fla. in the same action. The DEA alleged the two CVS/pharmacy locations, located 5.5 miles apart, were filling oxycodone prescriptions far in excess of what a typical pharmacy dispenses.

Cardinal Health and the two CVS/pharmacy locations will be given an opportunity for an administrative hearing to determine whether the DEA Certificate of Registration at each of the three locations should be revoked. The final decision will be published in the Federal Register, the DEA stated.

The order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is available here.

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