News & Resources

Publications & Media

“Oral Argument: Walgreen Co. v. DEA”

DEA Chronicles By Larry P. Cote

Today the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the matter of Walgreen Co. v. Drug Enforcement Administration, et al., (Docket No. 12-1397). I will leave the prognosticating to trained professionals; however, it was clear to me that Walgreens was before a sympathetic panel. The three-judge panel asked several probing (and repeated) questions of the Government’s counsel regarding the DEA’s factual basis for issuing the Immediate Suspension Order (“ISO”) against Walgreen’s Jupiter, Florida distribution center. The panel did not appear to be satisfied with counsel’s response. At one point Judge Tatel went as far as to say that he did not see in the record facts to support the Agency’s position that the distribution center posed an imminent danger to public health and safety – a requisite precedent for issuing an ISO. However the Court ultimately rules, the decision will provide much needed guidance to DEA and DEA registrants regarding the Agency’s authority, and limits to that authority, to issue ISOs.