Mitch Avnet shared his thoughts on pharmaceutical compliance and the opioid crisis in the following Law360 article titled With Opioid Charges, DOJ Signals Compliance Fixation by Alison Noon. Mitch reasoned,
“If a company has reservations about a dual-function compliance officer, it can help to follow the money and decide whether their other compensation could undermine their objectivity. Is this individual being incentivized to turn the other way?”
Law360 (April 30, 2019, 7:38 PM EDT) A logistics specialist who stumbled into pharmaceutical compliance is facing at least 10 years in prison for keeping quiet while his company doled out millions of doses of opioids to alleged pill mills, a stern warning from the U.S. Department of Justice to compliance officers in the crosshairs of the opioid epidemic.
Charging documents indicate that the compliance role was handed to businessman William Pietruszewski at Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc. with little direction and no training. For years, he wore both the logistics and compliance hats.
Compliance professionals should take note, said Mitch Avnet, founder and managing partner of Compliance Risk Concepts. Taking the role lightly can land you in a world of hurt. “It’s incumbent upon the individual to understand what they’re getting into,” Avnet said. “Like any career choice, you need to understand the risks.” Attorneys told Law360 the case held several other lessons for compliance professionals.
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