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Pharmaceutical executive indicted on drug-trafficking charges

Chicago’s NBC affiliate WMAQ recently reported on a former pharmaceutical industry executive who is part of the unfolding opioid scandal. The now-retired CEO of the Rochester Drug Co-Operative was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of conspiracy related to drug trafficking.

Federal prosecutors allege that 75-year-old Laurence Doud III urged his salespeople to sign new customers without asking questions. That no-questions approach extended to his firm’s largest customer, which went from ordering 70,000 monthly units of Oxycodone to nearly three times that just a year later.

Doud apparently overruled his company’s compliance officers so that the pain-killing medication would continue to flow into the “big account.” Prosecutors say these types of actions helped both Rochester Drug Co-Operative revenues and Doud’s bonuses grow.

However, all might not be as it seems. According to the news report, Doud filed a lawsuit against the company last year, claiming that it was trying to make him a scapegoat in its efforts to avoid regulatory and legal problems.

If Doud is convicted of the charges, he would face a mandatory minimum of a decade in federal prison, a prosecutor said.

Rochester Drug Co-Operative and a second former executive have also been charged, but the company reached a deferred prosecution agreement and the former compliance officer indicted entered into a cooperation deal with prosecutors.

A U.S. Attorney said, “this prosecution is the first of its kind: Executives of a pharmaceutical distributor and the distributor itself have been charged with drug trafficking — trafficking the same drugs that are fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging this country.”

Those facing federal drug-related charges should decline to speak to prosecutors until talking over the evidence and available legal options with a skilled criminal defense attorney.

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