Oklahoma refiles opioid lawsuits against Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed separate lawsuits against Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen May 1, accusing them of oversupplying the state with opioids, The Oklahoman reported. 

Mr. Hunter previously filed a single lawsuit against the companies in 2019 but dismissed it when the case moved to federal court. 

In the new lawsuits, the state accuses the three pharmaceutical distributors of negligence and creating a public nuisance, according to The Oklahoman

"By law, opioid distributors are required to stop suspicious shipments of opioids and report them to law enforcement. These companies ignored their responsibilities because they were making billions of dollars, while Oklahomans, especially those in our rural communities, suffered. Even after warnings and paying hundreds of millions in settlements and fines for their behavior, the companies persisted. We must hold them accountable for this behavior and for the deaths and continued suffering that occurred from their actions," Mr. Hunter wrote in a news release. 

He said he chose to refile the lawsuits in Bryan County District Court because that county "better represents the overwhelming number of overdose deaths and ongoing addiction crisis in the state’s rural communities."

The lawsuits seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and ask the companies to return "unjust profits."

A spokesperson for McKesson told The Oklahoman that it "plays an important but limited role in the pharmaceutical supply chain, and any suggestion that McKesson drove demand for opioids in this country reflects a fundamental misunderstanding and mischaracterization of our role as a distributor."

A spokesperson for Cardinal Health told The Oklahoman the company is "prepared to vigorously defend ourselves at trials and are confident that the facts presented will show we take our role and the responsibility that comes with it seriously, work hard every day to get it right, and make changes when we find ways to improve."

Becker's Hospital Review has reached out to AmerisourceBergen for comment and will update this story accordingly. 

Read the full article here.

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