Covidien spokeswoman Lynn Phillips declined to discuss the alleged theft at the Hobart plant, other than to say: “We are cooperating with law enforcement on this particular matter.”
She declined to discuss the company’s measures for combating internal theft. In response to questions about the amount of oxycodone produced annually at the Hobart plant, the Covidian representative said such information is not divulged by the company.
Oxycodone is an opiod that is the only ingredient in the brand name drug OxyContin. Oxycodone can also be found in other powerful painkillers, such as Percocet.
According to a help-wanted advertisement posted by Covidien on an Internet employment site, the company uses close-circuit television cameras as a security tool at the Hobart plant.
The ad, seeking a security guard, says one duty of the position is to “prevent the diversion of controlled substance via visual and physical inspection of employee’s visitor’s guests and contractors.” The guard would also “control site access and property of all employees, contractors and visitors to the site,” the ad states.
Covidien bills itself as a leading global health care products company that posted revenue of $11.6 billion in 2011 and has 41,000 employees worldwide in more than 65 countries. Its pharmaceutical business is a $2 billion segment in the process of spinning off from company this year.
Authorities said they seized about five ounces of oxycodone from Robert Willsey when he was arrested. That amount of drug has an estimated street value of $50,000, officials said.
Undersheriff Dumond said the arrest of Willsey grew out of the same investigation that led to the indictment by an Otsego County grand jury last month of Dante D. Major, 35, of Hobart, on charges of operating as a major trafficker of oxycodone — a top-grade felony — as well as several lesser charges.
The Star reported two weeks ago that federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials view the abuse of prescription painkillers as a national epidemic. In Otsego County, overdose deaths linked to painkillers exceeded suicides for the past two years, officials said.