Pharmaceutical company, pharmacists charged with unlawfully distributing pain killers

Company allegedly supplied nearly 5 million pills to town approximately 1,394 people

Pharmaceutical company, pharmacists charged with unlawfully distributing pain killers
FILE - This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of prescription oxycodone pills in New York. U.S. health officials Tuesday, April 9. 2019, warned doctors not to abruptly stop prescribing opioid painkillers to patients who are taking them for chronic pain ailments, such as backaches. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (Source: AP)

CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - A pharmaceutical distributor, two of its former officials and two pharmacists were indicted Thursday for conspiring to distribute controlled substances.

The four charged are:

  • Anthony Rattini, 71, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, the former president of Miami-Luken
  • James Barclay, 72, of Springboro, Ohio, the former compliance officer of Miami-Luken
  • Devonna Miller-West, 49, of Oceana, West Virginia, a pharmacist who owned and operated Westside Pharmacy in Oceana
  • Samuel “Randy” Ballengee, 54, Lovely, Kentucky, a pharmacist who owned and operated Tug Valley Pharmacy in Willamson, West Virginia.

According to the indictment, Rattini, Barclay and Miami-Luken tried to profit by giving out millions of painkillers to doctors and pharmacies in rural Appalachia, where the opioid epidemic was at its peak.

Miami-Luken and its officials allegedly filled suspicious orders placed by Miller-West, Ballengee and others even after they received a warning from the DEA.

For example, Rattini, Barclay and Miami-Luken allegedly distributed more than 2.3 million oxycodone pills and 2.6 hydrocodone pills to Miller-West’s pharmacy in a town of approximately 1,394 people.

Ballengee’s pharmacy allegedly received more than 120,000 painkiller pills from Miami-Luken in one month. From 2008 through 2014, Miami-Luken distributed more than 6 million hydrocodone pills to Tug Valley Pharmacy.

The wholesaler allegedly provided another 2.2 million pills from 2012 through 2014 to another pharmacy that had been cut off from other wholesalers.

From 2008 through 2011, Miami-Luken allegedly distributed more than 3.7 million hydrocodone pills to a pharmacy in Kermit, W.Va., a town of 400 people.

From 2008 to 2015, Miami-Luken generated more than $173 million in consolidated sales per year. More than 70 percent of the profits came from wholesale distribution.

Each of the defendants and Miami-Luken, Inc. is charged with conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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