Kaiser Permanente responds to Washington Post story


Kaiser Permanente has responded to a Washington Post story that identified Kaiser’s Downey facility as the single largest distributor of opioids in Los Angeles County, and the second largest distributor in California.

The Washington Post got its data from the Drug Enforcement Agency, which recently made its database of drug distributors public. You can read the story here.

Below is Kaiser Permanente’s response in its entirety:

“The Downey facility is a pharmacy distribution center, not a hospital or drug manufacturer, nor retail pharmacy. It distributes medications to hundreds of Kaiser Permanente pharmacies in Southern California, serving 4.6 million members. The high count for Downey would be due to the fact that it is Kaiser Permanente’s central fill and mail order facility for all of Southern California, thus, this location would have received all of the region’s controlled substances that were to be filled at a central location or were allowed by law to be delivered by mail. After November 2015, Kaiser Permanente transitioned the distribution of all controlled substances to an outside distributor. This third-party distributor currently distributes controlled substances directly to our local pharmacies.

“Kaiser Permanente is a leader in the national effort to reduce the prescribing of opioids. From 2011-2017, Kaiser Permanente reduced the prescription of opioids by nearly 40%. Our integrated care delivery system and coordination among care providers is reducing the risk of opioid dependency with initiatives designed to: limit opioid prescriptions overall, prescribing them only when it’s safe and appropriate; provide effective, nonopioid pain management alternatives; prescribe lower doses and shorter courses when opioids are medically necessary; help patients who take opioid medications taper down to safer, lower doses — or discontinue use altogether.”