The head of a pharmaceutical firm who was the first top executive to be punished for his role in the country’s opioid crisis was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison.
Laurence F. Doud III, 79, was CEO of the Rochester Drug Cooperative until indicted by Manhattan prosecutors in 2019.
He propelled the company forward, sending stock dividends to record levels when revenue topped $1 billion. He also, prosecutors said, deliberately misled the Drug Enforcement Agency and turned a blind eye to retailers who sold the drugs to addicts.
Doud was convicted last year and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels to two years and three months in prison.
Laurence Doud III, 79, is seen leaving court in Manhattan on Wednesday following his sentencing.
Doud said he did a “terrible job” running the company, but meant no harm.
The Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC) avoided prosecution but paid a $20 million fine
“Laurence Doud cared more about his own paycheck than his responsibility as RDC CEO to keep dangerous opioids from reaching pharmacies, drug dealers and people struggling with addiction,” said Damian Williams, Attorney Federal for the Southern District of New York. .
“Today’s sentence holds Doud responsible for shipping massive amounts of dangerous and highly addictive oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies he knew illegally dispensed those controlled substances and reaffirms this Office’s commitment to seeking justice for the many victims of the epidemic. of opioids”.
Doud was charged along with the company’s chief compliance officer, William Pietruszewski. He pleaded guilty and testified against Doud.
The company itself signed an agreement under which the government said it would not prosecute as long as it paid a $20 million fine, followed the law, and underwent five years of supervision by an independent monitor.
Doud told the court on Wednesday that he had done a “terrible job” of enforcing the regulations, but had no malicious intent.
“I had no desire to see anyone get hurt,” he said.
“I am forever sorry for the troubles that have occurred.”
William Pietruszewski, RDC’s head of compliance, pleaded guilty and testified against Doud
The court heard that one RDC-supplied pharmacy sold a ‘staggering’ number of pills, while another was compared to a ‘stick of dynamite waiting for the DEA to light the fuse’.
The charges cover time from 2012 to March 2017.
Doud was charged following an investigation, launched when authorities suspected he was ignoring the sales law.
In 2006 and 2007, Doud received letters from the DEA insisting that companies like his had a responsibility to report suspicious opioid orders.
However, prosecutors found that Doud continued to supply pharmacies even when he knew they sold to drug addicts.
Pharmacy owner Michael Paulsen testified that he used Doud’s company to supply his Staten Island firm, which distributed pills to local addicts.
Regal Remedies in Staten Island was shut down for selling large amounts of opioids
Michael Paulson, owner of Regal Remedies, pleaded guilty and testified against Doud
From March 2016 to September 2019, Paulsen ordered more than 170,000 oxycodone pills for Regal Remedies in the Arrochar district of Staten Island.
Paulsen dispensed only a third of those pills on prescription; the rest were sold to customers, earning Paulsen thousands of dollars.
Doud ordered shipments to continue, saying he made it clear he “didn’t mind closing the stores because that would affect DRC sales.”
He told the staff that the DEA’s role was to police pharmacies, not his company’s.
Doud frequently began to supply pharmacies that had been turned down by other suppliers.
Prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence for the “devastating impact” of his actions.
Doud’s lawyers said he was a pinnacle of the local community and not a dangerous man.
But prosecutors said that was irrelevant.
“It doesn’t matter if a dangerous drug like fentanyl or oxycodone comes from a drug dealer or someone with a medical or business degree,” they wrote.
“White collar drug dealers like the defendant should not be given a break.”