Federal prosecutors have charged a former president of a major pharmaceutical distributor with flooding parts of Appalachia with millions of opioid pills while ignoring evidence they were driving addiction and death.
The arrest of Anthony Rattini, the ex-head of Miami-Luken, on criminal charges marks a significant shift in legal action to hold the drug industry to account for the US opioid epidemic as hundreds of civil actions against manufacturers and distributors head to court.
Rattini is accused of distributing powerful narcotic painkillers for other than medical reasons to more than 200 pharmacies across West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.
Rattini was charged alongside Miami-Luken’s former compliance officer, James Barclay, and two West Virginia pharmacists who ordered large amounts of the drugs from the company.
Prosecutors accuse the Miami-Luken executives of shipping huge quantities of opioid pills to pharmacies in rural towns over several years despite warnings from the Drug Enforcement Administration.