In mid-September, the Drug Enforcement Agency stopped shipments of oxycodone at a Walgreens facility located in Florida due to suspiciously high sales of the pain killer. The DEA has been cracking down on pharmacy chains such as Walgreens due to the indication that these drugs are being diverted to drug addicts.
It is not clear as to how these diversions occurred but according to a recent blog post from the CIO Journal, one expert suggested that “a vulnerability in the supply chain management system and technology may have created an opportunity to divert oxycodone from one of the pharmacy chain’s distribution centers to the black market, triggering the federal investigation.”
Walgreens has taken several measures to counteract the several strings of drug diversions that have been taking place. For example, between 2011 and 2012 Walgreens reduced inventory of oxycodone tablets by 35%. Additionally, the company put a new ordering system in place and increased reporting requirements. Unfortunately, even with these preventative measures in place, Walgreens failed to maintain proper controls of these drugs.
Supply chain complexities such as these are a perfect example as to why companies are turning to automated supply chain visibility solutions. An automated solution allows companies to ensure visibility, communicate efficiently and make accurate decisions relating to diverting inventory and avoiding bottlenecks. A visibility solution can help avoid fines and penalties brought on by situations such as this one experienced by Walgreens and also increase profitability.
For more information on the oxycodone scandal at Walgreens please read:
USA Today, DEA inspects Walgreens in oxycodone probe