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Cardinal Health Protests DEA Suspension For Florida Facility

By Jon Kamp Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH) said Friday that the Drug Enforcement Agency has suspended the drug wholesaler's license to distribute controlled medicines such as pain drugs from a Florida facility, but that the company is asking a federal court to block the DEA's efforts. The agency alleges four of Cardinal's retail pharmacy customers dispensed controlled substances based on prescriptions that were not issued for legitimate purposes, according to a Cardinal press release. The order also alleges that the company failed to conduct "meaningful due diligence" to stop this from happening, the company said. Cardinal defended its "robust controls," however, and said the DEA's actions would disrupt drug shipments to more than 2,500 pharmacy customers in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. A company spokeswoman said the controlled medicines at issue include drugs used to treat epilepsy, severe pain and sleep disorders. Shares of the Dublin, Ohio, firm recently traded down 1.3% to $41.66. The DEA's license suspension affects Cardinal's Lakeland, Fla., facility. The company is asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to intervene. "We strongly disagree with the allegations the DEA has made against our Lakeland facility and intend to vigorously challenge this action," Cardinal Chief Executive George Barrett said in the release. Cardinal noted that over the past four years, it has stopped shipping controlled medicines to more than 350 pharmacies while reporting them to the DEA. This includes 160 pharmacies in Florida. -By Jon Kamp, Dow Jones Newswires; 617-654-6728; jon.kamp@dowjones.com

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