- Associated Press - Friday, May 18, 2018

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has canceled an order to stop a Louisiana drug wholesaler from selling opiates and other controlled drugs.

The order, contained in court documents Friday, comes nine days after a federal judge ordered the agency to at least temporarily restore Morris & Dickson LLC’s license. The Shreveport-based company had challenged the suspension of its license.

“This is a striking vindication for our family company,” president Paul Dickson said in a statement. “This proves what we’ve said all along: that DEA’s hasty action was unjustified.”

The court filing for Acting Administrator Robert Patterson did not explain why he changed his mind. A DEA spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

Morris & Dickson sells drugs in Texas and 15 other nearby states.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote handed down a temporary order last week to return the licenses and any confiscated drugs to the company, and scheduled a May 22 hearing on whether to extend it.

In that order, issued May 9, Foote said the DEA was creating “an imminent danger to public health or safety” with its action, and said the information she had seen thus far showed the company could likely prove the agency had acted arbitrarily.

On May 4, the DEA issued a news release saying agents learned in October that Morris & Dickson was selling large amounts of oxycodone and hydrocodone. Some independent pharmacies were buying more of those drugs than were being bought by nearby pharmacy chain stores, and some monthly orders were 10 times the Louisiana average, the release said.

Dickson’s statement said the company has cut opioid sales 27 percent since 2014 and dropped more than 142 clients in recent years to avoid improper distribution of opioids.

He said the DEA reviewed the company’s control procedures in 2016 at the company’s request, but didn’t have any suggestions for improvements. He also said that a former DEA official now acting as a consultant was already working to improve the company’s program to monitor suspicious drug orders when the DEA issued the suspension order.

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