Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Attorney general sues Cardinal Health for distributing large volumes of opioids to state, alleges wrongdoing

Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit Feb. 19 against Ohio-based Cardinal Health, saying the company has practiced unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices while flooding the state with highly addictive opioid painkillers.

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, alleges that Cardinal failed to report "suspiciously large volumes" of opioid shipments, particularly in Eastern Kentucky, to state and federal authorities.

“Kentucky has lost so much,” Beshear said. “But a better future is possible. The companies that made billions have a duty to help us create a future. They have a duty to fully fund treatment, prevention, recovery and enforcement efforts.”

Based on Cardinal's 20.7 percent share of the Kentucky market, Beshear's office attributes 63.6 million of the 307.2 million doses of prescription opioids filled by Kentucky pharmacies between 2016 through 2017 to the company, "which breaks down to 69 doses for every man, woman and child in Kentucky."

Further, Beshear's office says this breaks down to 302 doses for every citizen in Floyd County; 245 doses for each citizen in Clay County; and 222 doses per citizen in Bell County, but only 1.5 per citizen in Jefferson County.

Since November 2017, Beshear's office has also filed opioid lawsuits against two other drug companies, McKesson Corp., making similar claims as the Cardinal suit, and Endo Pharmaceuticals and Endo Health Solutions for violating state law and directly contributing to opioid-related deaths and overdoses from the drug Opana.

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