Madigan Announces Investigations of More Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

Elias Hubbard
September 22, 2017

"Our investigation continues as we seek information from drug manufacturers and distributors to help determine whether they engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids".

PurduePharma was the exclusive focus of a previously announced investigation. Healey said at a press briefing in Boston. The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas to pharmaceutical companies, including Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan and their related entities.

"I've heard far too many stories from people who didn't know a prescription drug they were taking for a sports industry or wisdom tooth surgery could lead to addiction", Healey said.

Healey's office said attorneys general are using subpoenas and seeking documents about distribution practices at McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen, who manage about 90 percent of the nation's opioid distribution. "Did they ignore information that could have saved lives?"

A spokesman for Purdue Pharma said in a statement to the Herald: "We share the attorneys' general concern about the opioid crisis and we are cooperating with their request".

Joanne Peterson, founder and executive director of Learn to Cope, which helps families struggling with addiction, said the investigation "gives hope to families and friends who have lost loved ones".

Asked if there was any evidence of wrongdoing by the drug companies, Healey said the matter is still under investigation, so she is limited in what she can say.

In August, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued the company, accusing it of violating his state's consumer protection laws by providing insurers with false and misleading information to obtain prior authorization for patient prescriptions.

Nationally, prescription painkillers and heroin killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middlesex County had 400, according to state data.

Still, public health officials say the number of opioid-related deaths fell about 5 percent in the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier.

The number of state's top lawyers participating, and the bipartisanship it brings, represents a dramatic expansion and coordination of the investigations by the into the nationwide opioid epidemic. Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and synthetic opioids with over 20,000 overdose deaths. Ryan said. "How did this happen?"

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