Injured Workers Pharmacy in Andover handled more than 34.1 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone between 2006 and 2012 — more than any pharmacy in the state, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Its attorney says the nature of its business — specializing in home deliveries, fulfilling prescriptions for injured people on worker's compensation — drives up its numbers.

“The DEA data regarding opioids received by Massachusetts pharmacies presents a misleading comparison because the quantities received by IWP are dispensed to patients across the country, whereas at least the next seven largest recipients of opioids are retail pharmacies which dispensed in small areas within the state,”  attorney Gregory S. Saikin, a partner with BakerHosteler, wrote in a statement.

He said the 18-year-old company abides by regulations set for home-delivery pharmacies. That includes using GPS technology and cataloging signatures to ensure prescriptions get to the right patients. 

“IWP is fully cooperating with an inquiry by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office — and is aware that attorneys general across the country are likewise looking into all aspects of companies in the pharmacy value chain," he stated. "IWP prides itself on compliance with federal and state laws, and goes above and beyond what the laws require in its commitment to patient and public safety.”

New Hampshire's largest supplier, Neighborcare of New Hampshire LLC, primarily supplies opioids to nursing facilities, a spokesman said. 

The pharmacy has changed names and owners since handling more than 5.7 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone between 2006 and 2012, according to the DEA.

“Omnicare pharmacies generally only fill prescriptions for these large institutional clients that provide regular, on-site medical care to patients,” said Mike DeAngelis, senior director of corporate communications for CVS.

“An Omnicare pharmacy typically has a larger scale of business than a retail pharmacy due to the number of patients being served by its clients," he continued. "This is especially true for the Omnicare pharmacy in Londonderry, New Hampshire, which is the largest LTC pharmacy in the state and has clients in both New Hampshire and Vermont."

ABOUT THE DEA DATA

The Drug Enforcement Agency logs every shipment of opioid pharmaceuticals, but the information was not publicly available until The Washington Post and the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail sued for the information.

The Post compiled the data to highlight distribution of hydrocodone and oxycodone in every county in the U.S., as well as distributors, manufacturers and pharmacies that handled doses. The Post said it focused on those two drugs because prescriptions for those pills overwhelmingly dominated the market.

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