Judge upholds DEA's suspension of drug distributor

FREDERIC J. FROMMER Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration can move forward with its suspension of a Florida pharmaceutical distributor for alleged ineffective control of a powerful painkiller.

Judge Reggie Walton denied Cardinals Health Inc.'s request for a preliminary injunction Wednesday, a few weeks after the company won a temporary restraining order blocking the DEA's suspension efforts. Cardinal Health says it will appeal Wednesday's ruling.

To combat the abuse of pain pills like oxycodone, the DEA issued orders earlier this month to suspend the sale of controlled substances by two CVS pharmacies in the Orlando area, and the shipment of them from Cardinal Health's Lakeland-based center that supplied the stores. The agency said the pharmacies were dispensing amounts of oxycodone far in excess of legitimate needs.