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Mis­sis­sippi is su­ing three opi­oid dis­trib­u­tors, say­ing they failed to control the dis­tri­bu­tion of the po­tent drugs.


Mis­sis­sippi is su­ing three opi­oid dis­trib­u­tors, say­ing it failed to pre­vent the di­ver­sion of those drugs into the state and con­trib­uted to the opi­oid cri­sis.

The com­plaint was filed in Hinds County Cir­cuit Court against Car­di­nal Health, McKes­son Corp. and AmerisourceBer­gen Corp., At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jim Hood said in a news re­lease Thurs­day. It al­leges the com­pa­nies breached their le­gal du­ties to “mon­i­tor, de­tect, in­ves­ti­gate, refuse, and re­port sus­pi­cious or­ders of opi­oids.” Hood said that is a vi­o­la­tion of the Mis­sis­sippi Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act and “as a re­sult, Mis­sis­sippi has been flooded with opi­oids and is suf­fer­ing an on­go­ing pub­lic health cri­sis.”

The com­plaint al­leges that if the com­pa­nies had done what they were legally ob­li­gated to do, the opi­oid epi­demic would not be what it is to­day. In 2017 alone, Hood said Mis­sis­sippi had enough opi­oids sup­plied to pro­vide 61 pills for ev­ery man, woman and child in the state.

“If these dis­trib­u­tors were at­tend­ing to their sup­ply rates, they would re­al­ize that amount of pills is way too large for a state the size of Mis­sis­sippi,” Hood said. “These com­pa­nies must own up to their con­tri­bu­tion to this deadly cri­sis, and I in­tend on hold­ing them fully ac­count­able.”

AmerisourceBer­gen Corp. is based in Ch­ester­brook, Penn­syl­va­nia; McKes­son Corp is lo­cated in San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia and Car­di­nal Health is in Dublin, Ohio.

The com­pa­nies have said they have re­formed their re­port­ing and mon­i­tor­ing prac­tices in re­cent years and will work with reg­u­la­tors and law en­force­ment to com­bat opi­oid mis­use and ad­dic­tion.

In De­cem­ber 2015, Hood filed the first law­suit on be­half of a state against mul­ti­ple drug man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies for falsely mar­ket­ing opi­oids as rarely ad­dic­tive. That law­suit was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court against five of the largest opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers. One of the com­pa­nies in that suit, Pur­due Pharma – along with three of its ex­ec­u­tives – pleaded guilty in 2007 to fed­eral charges and paid more than $600 mil­lion in fines re­lated to in­ten­tional mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions as to the ad­dic­tive­ness of OxyCon­tin.

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