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The California Board of Pharmacy is accusing McKesson (MCK), the large pharmaceutical wholesaler, of selling excessive amounts of two controlled substances to a children’s hospital, the latest episode in which one of the biggest U.S. distributors has allegedly failed to sufficiently monitor shipments of such medicines.

In its complaint the board noted McKesson, in the fall of 2017, suddenly began supplying much larger quantities of Phenergan with codeine syrup, which is a combination narcotic and cough suppressant, and the Xanax anxiety medication, to the outpatient pharmacy at Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. But McKesson should have known such quantities are not typically distributed to pediatric patients.


Starting in September 2017, on a percentage basis, shipments of Phenergan with codeine were 40% to 80% higher on a monthly basis going forward. And starting in October 2017, the monthly percentage change in Xanax shipments increased from 250% to 275%, according to the complaint, which was filed in December, but posted on the board of pharmacy site this month.

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