Attorney General Curtis Hill today filed a lawsuit against three drug distributors responsible for a commanding share of the prescription opioids sold to Indiana pharmacies during the relevant time period.
The complaint alleges that AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. violated Indiana law by: 1) designing flawed systems that failed to adequately identify, report and prevent the shipment of suspicious orders for opioids; 2) failing to adhere to the terms of their own anti-diversion programs for opioids; and 3) unfairly and deceptively marketing prescription opioids.
“Distributors play a crucial role in the drug supply chain,” Attorney General Hill said. “As wholesalers, they are the link between drug manufacturers and the pharmacies that sell drugs directly to consumers. When they conduct themselves responsibly, distributors should function as a significant line of defense to protect the public from too many pills flooding into our communities and being diverted away from legitimate medical channels. In Indiana, these distributors failed to meet their legal obligations, and the results have been devastating.”
Indiana has had one of the highest rates of opioid prescribing and diversion in the nation. From 2012 to 2016, there were 58 Indiana counties with opioid prescribing rates greater than 100 prescriptions per 100 residents per year. As of 2012, Indiana had the ninth-highest rate of opioid prescriptions per capita — and the fifth-highest rate of diversion — in the United States. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 3,000 Hoosiers died of opioid overdoses.
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The lawsuit filed today, spanning more than 200 pages, results from a lengthy, months-long investigation that included multiple depositions of individuals in the industry and extensive review of company documents.
The Office of the Attorney General is being assisted in this matter by the law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Zimmerman Reed LLP.
The full press release can be accessed here.