Cincinnati targets 3 opioid distributors in lawsuit

The city of Cincinnati on Aug. 15 filed a lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. for the companies' alleged failure to report and halt suspicious orders of opioids in the community.

The lawsuit alleges the drug distributors did not adhere to the federal Controlled Substances Act, which requires the companies to monitor and report suspicious opioid orders to hospitals and pharmacies. Cabell County, W.V., and the Cherokee Nation have filed similar lawsuits against the drug wholesalers.

"The fact that the nation has an opioid crisis is well-known," said Democratic Mayor John Cranley. "[Ohio] attorney general Mike DeWine is prosecuting the manufacturers of these highly addictive drugs. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy is shutting down pill mills, and our state Board of Medicine is revoking the licenses of bad doctors. But it is the distributors who failed in their legal obligation to notify the Drug Enforcement Administration of suspicious orders, even as the number of pills flowing into our city rose and rose."

Over the last 12 months, first-responders in Cincinnati have responded to 2,275 drug overdoses, according to a release from the Mayor's office.

"The people of Cardinal Health care deeply about the devastation opioid abuse has caused American families and communities and are committed to helping solve this complex national public health crisis," said Cardinal Health in a statement emailed to Becker's. "We are industry leaders in implementing state-of-the-art controls to combat the diversion of pain medications from legitimate uses, and have funded community education and prevention programs for a decade … We will defend ourselves vigorously in court and at the same time continue to work alongside regulators, manufacturers, prescribers, pharmacists and patients to fight opioid abuse and addiction."

More articles on opioids: 
South Carolina sues Purdue over opioid marketing 
3 nurses exposed to fentanyl after treating overdose patient at Ohio hospital 
6 states fighting the opioid epidemic with emergency or disaster declarations

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