Cantrell Drug Seeks Buyer - Southern Business Review

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Cantrell Drug Seeks Buyer

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 12:00 am   2 min read


The namesake facility operated by Cantrell Drug Company, owned by Dr. James L. "Dell" McCarley Jr. (inset) and his wife Lynn.





Cantrell Drug Co. of Little Rock is searching for a buyer after the drug compounding company closed its doors in November, leaving about 50 people out of work.


“We did not have enough resources to stabilize the company after the long onslaught,” Chief Executive Officer Dell McCarley Jr. told Whispers.


The onslaught included Cantrell filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in November 2017. That was followed in early 2018 by a legal battle with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration over allegations that Cantrell’s facility and products weren’t sterile. The FDA fought to stop Cantrell’s production and distribution of compounded drugs.


Cantrell Drug agreed to stop making drugs while it made changes to meet the FDA’s requirements. It finally received the OK in September from the FDA to start manufacturing drugs again.


Cantrell Drug produced about 50,000 units of morphine for injections, but the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. of New York released a batch at the same time, McCarley said.

“And, of course, Pfizer produces huge batches [that are] less expensive than ours,” he said. “And we just couldn’t sell it.”


McCarley said he and his wife thought the company, which was founded in 1952, would survive after receiving the FDA’s approval in September. But it didn’t.


Between November 2017 and October 2018, Cantrell Drug reported a net loss of $3.43 million, according to its bankruptcy filings.


McCarley said the legal fight had “drained our resources.”


McCarley said he’s hired a broker from Atlanta to do a nationwide search for a buyer.


“We’ve had lots of interest,” he said. “We’ve had multiple parties that have come into Little Rock to look at the facility.”


Still, the entire situation has been a struggle.


“I’ve worked for 30 years to build this company just to see it pulled from my arms,” he said.