West Virginia county files lawsuit against drug wholesalers, pharmacies for role in opioid epidemic

The Cabell County (W.V.) Commission on Thursday filed suit against drug wholesalers and pharmaceutical retailers to recoup finances spent addressing the high rates of opioid abuse in the community, according to a report from The Herald-Dispatch.

The suit involves four drug wholesalers — AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp. and H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co. — and three pharmacy retailers: CVS, Kroger, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart and Walgreens. The suit alleges these companies sold more than 40 million doses of opioid painkillers to the county between 2007 and 2012. During that time, the county's population was 96,319, according to the report.

The suit differs from similar lawsuits filed by other local municipalities in the state because it's filed directly in federal court. Previous suits have implicated a specific West Virginia resident (often times a physician) and filed the suit in state court.

"What we are attempting to do is go to the source and heart of the problem, which is the number and volume of pills," said Paul Farrell Jr., the attorney who filed the complaint, according to the Herald-Dispatch.

More articles on opioids: 
Dartmouth-Hitchcock achieves 53% reduction in opioid prescriptions for outpatient procedures 
West Virginia overdoses overwhelm state burial assistance program 
Healthcare consumers' concerns over narcotic risk is growing, survey finds

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