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Larry Cote quoted in article “FedEx Indicted for Shipping Drugs for Online Pharmacies”

Bloomberg Businessweek

Following is an excerpt:

FedEx Corp. was indicted for delivering prescription pain pills, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs and other controlled substances for illegal Internet pharmacies.

The criminal case is an unprecedented escalation of a federal crackdown on organizations and individuals to combat prescription drug abuse, said Larry Cote, an attorney and ex-associate chief counsel at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Targeting a company that’s two, three steps removed from the actual doctor-patient, pharmacy-patient relationship is unprecedented,” said Cote, who advises companies in the drug supply chain on compliance matters.

The filing of criminal charges against FedEx could have a chilling effect on mail-order pharmacies that rely on express delivery to get medicines to patients, said Cote. The government’s case will turn on what federal drug enforcers specifically told FedEx about the pharmacies and what the company knew about the entities, he said.

“The DEA does believe that everyone in the supply chain is responsible and has an obligation to understand where their products are ending up,” said Cote, calling that “a stretch.”

The case is U.S. v. FedEx Corp. (FDX:US), 14-cr-00380, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Originally published in Bloomberg Businessweek, July 18, 2014