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Rochester drug distributor files plans to close local operations

Max Schulte
A security guard patrols the Rochester Drug Cooperative campus in Chili.

A local drug distributor accused of fueling the opioid epidemic has told the state labor department that it plans to shut down its local operations.

The Rochester Drug Cooperative paid a $20 million fine after admitting that it knowingly violated federal narcotics laws. Then, the company shut down its narcotics business.

Now, the company has filed official notice that it could lay off all of its local workers.

Spokesman Jeff Eller said the drug company has been “under significant financial stress.”

Layoff notices started going out to workers last week.

The paperwork that the drug cooperative filed with the state labor department says it plans to “separate” with all 98 of its local employees by the end of May.

But Eller said the plans are not definite.

“Look, they do not want to shut down,” he said. “It’s not as absolute as the paperwork makes it out to be.”

The notice filed with the state fulfills RDC’s legal obligations to prepare for economic disruptions, Eller said.

He said the company could still find a way to keep its local distribution center open.

The drug cooperative acknowledged in court documents last year that it shipped dangerous and highly addictive opioids to pharmacies despite knowing that the prescription medicines were being used illicitly.

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