AG Mike Hunter Announces Lawsuit Against Top 3 Opioid Distributors
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a lawsuit against three of the country’s biggest opioid distributors.
The announcement was made during a press conference Monday afternoon.
McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corporation are all named in the lawsuit, filed in Cleveland County Court.
All three are opioid distributers, the state states, helped fuel the Oklahoma opioid crisis.
“These companies made billions of dollars by supplying massive and unjustifiable quantities of opioids to communities around the state leading to oversupply, diversion and overdose deaths,” said Hunter.
The lawsuit alleges all three companies ignored red flags and suspicious orders, putting profits ahead of patients.
“We are seeking damages for negligence as well as their misconduct,” said Hunter. “Their business practices of ignoring massive quantities of pills being shipped into the state has left Oklahoma in a state of crisis.”
Northwest Oklahoma City resident Terry Hubbard said his doctor cut him off of opioids in March. He said he needs the drug to get through the day as he is suffering from degenerative disk disease.
Hubbard said he is concerned recent lawsuits may do more harm than good.
“With all of these companies being sued, they’re going out of business,” said Hubbard. “What is going to be making the opioids? Who is going to make the Tramadol and Percocets and how much is it going to cost?”
Hunter would not specify the amount of damages the state is seeking but did refer to a $215 million settlement the three companies paid two Ohio counties in 2019.
Responsibility, Hunter said, is what they're after.
“We've got to hold companies responsible for what they've did, for what they've done and for what they need to do to fix this mess to help address this crisis,” said Hunter.
News 9 reached out to all three companies mentioned in Monday’s lawsuit, only the McKesson Corp. responded saying:
“Our company 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. We will continue to fight that mischaracterization and defend ourselves in the litigation.”