Federal Judge Sides With Drug Companies in Opioid Lawsuit

A federal judge has ruled that drug companies are not responsible for flooding opioid drugs into West Virginia neighborhoods and triggering an epidemic. The West Virginia city of Huntington and Cabell County had actually submitted a suit versus the 3 biggest pharmaceutical suppliers in the country– McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.

The claim was looking for$ 2.5 billion in damages and had actually argued that the business ought to be required to assist in the funding of opioid treatment programs in the areas.

District Judge David Faber specified in his 184-page judgment that “there is nothing unreasonable about distributing controlled substances to fulfill legally written prescriptions.”

“The opioid crisis has taken a considerable toll on the citizens of Cabell county and the city of Huntington,” the judge wrote. “And while there is a natural tendency to assign blame in such cases, they must be decided not based on sympathy, but on the facts and the law.”

The Guardian wrote, “more than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed, largely by state and local governments, seeking to hold those and other companies responsible for an opioid abuse epidemic linked to more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the last two decades.”

Last year, the suppliers and Johnson & Johnson accepted the settlements of thousands of suits for approximately $26 billion– however, West Virginia chose to continue their own claims as it was struck so hard by the opioid crisis. Legislators in the state had mentioned that the settlement did not accomplish enough for city governments who are left attempting to pick up the pieces.

According to reporting from Reuters, “Cardinal Health in a statement applauded the decision, which it said recognized that it only provided a ‘secure channel to deliver medications of all kinds.’ McKesson said it maintains strong programs to prevent the diversion of opioids to illicit channels.”

The West Virginia Attorney General reports that the state has “one of the highest rates in the country of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in 19 to 25 year olds. Opioids are the number one cause of death associated with drug overdoses. The drug epidemic in this state knows no socioeconomic or geographic boundaries and continues to affect West Virginians from all walks of life.”

The Centers for Disease Control reported that West Virginia’s 2014 overdose rate was the greatest in the nation with 35.5 deaths per 100,000 and an overall of 627 drug overdose deaths.

H/T Timcast

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