Delaware sues pharmaceutical companies for their role in opioid epidemic

A Delaware Attorney General, Matt Denn, has filed a suit against drug manufacturers and two retail pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens, for their role in contributing to the region’s opioid epidemic through the misrepresentation of the painkillers addictive qualities.

One of these manufacturers is Purdue Pharma, which markets painkiller oxycodone under the moniker Oxycontin. It is joined in its accusal by Endo Pharmaceuticals, which markets the same drug under the name Percocet.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware Superior Court, the two companies and their distributors are responsible for importing phenomenal quantities of the drug into the local area.

Mr. Denn stated: “They were shipping quantities of opioids around the country so enormous that they could not possibly all be for legitimate medical purposes.”

According to the figures cited in the lawsuit, these companies were annually shipping the equivalent of over 50 opioid pills per person for each individual living in the Delaware area but failed to take any steps to ensure these were going to genuine patients.

Mr. Denn added: “These companies ignored red flags that opioids were being diverted from legitimate channels of distribution and used in illicit channels. The failure of these corporate defendants to meet their legal obligations has had a devastating impact on Delawareans.”

Revealing mortality statistics for the region, those accusing said that 192 people had died of a suspected overdose in Delaware in November 2017 alone. This indicated a steady rise in numbers, from 224 overdose-related deaths in 2014 to 228 in 2015 (the 12th highest in the country) and 308 in 2016.

In November, Mr. Denn took the step of retaining Fields PLLC, the law firm responsible for filing prior litigation against the industry on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. This had led to an April lawsuit in the trial court, where it was stated that those accused had failed “to prevent the flow of illegally prescribed opioids to men, women, and children in the Cherokee Nation.”

Distributors, Amerisource Bergen, Anda Pharmaceuticals, Cardinal Health, H.D. Smith and McKesson are accused alongside Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, CVS, and Walgreens.

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