The region’s opioid epidemic County officials in West Virginia filed a federal lawsuit against pharmacies and drug distributors including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal and McKesson in February, saying negligent oversight exacerbated.
It has systems in place to combat opioid diversion, the company said.
The companies also gave bonuses based on the number of prescriptions filled, which would cause more lax oversight, the suit said.
The Cherokee Nation has accused some of the biggest companies in the pharmaceutical and industry of exacerbating the opioid epidemic, alleging they should have prevented rather than profited from the mass distribution of addictive pain pills.The lawsuit, filed in tribal court Thursday , alleges that drug distributors and pharmacies knowingly or negligently allowed vast amounts of opioids to flow into the black market for their own financial gain, crippling the Cherokee Nation both financially and emotionally.The suit alleges AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp.—some of the largest U.S. drug distributors—regularly filed suspicious orders from pharmacies.
“We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the plaintiff’s mischaracterization of those facts and misunderstanding of the law,” the company said in a statement.Chesterbrook, Pa.-based drug distributor AmerisourceBergen said in a statement that the company is reviewing the lawsuit and it actively monitors each shipment and reports and stops suspicious orders.Opioid painkillers netted $9.6 billion in sales in 2015, according to IMS Health.
That averages out to between 360 and 720 pills per year for every prescription opioid user in the Cherokee Nation, the lawsuit says.
RELATED CONTENT“These drug wholesalers and retailers have profited greatly by allowing the Cherokee Nation to become flooded with prescription opioids,” the lawsuit alleges.
Oklahoma — home to most of the 120,000 citizens of Cherokee Nation — leads the country in prescription painkiller abuse.
“The goal is to get justice for the Cherokee Nation and to recover the extraordinary losses they’ve suffered as a result of the opioid epidemic,” said Fields.
Cherokee Nation is suing CVS Health, Walgreens, and other drug companies and retailers, alleging the companies didn’t do enough to stop prescription painkillers from flooding the tribal community and creating a crisis of opioid addiction.
as declared in OKLAHOMA CITY — The Cherokee Nation sued distributors and retailers of opioid medications on Thursday, alleging the companies have contributed to “an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse” within the tribe and have not done enough to prevent tribal members from acquiring illegally prescribed opioid painkillers.
“The issue of opioid abuse is a complex one that spans the full health care spectrum, including manufacturers, wholesalers, insurers, prescribers, pharmacists and regulatory and enforcement agencies,” Weissman said.
The tribe argues the companies regularly turn a “blind eye” to opioid prescriptions that would require further investigation before pills are dispensed.
“Defendants have created an environment in which drug diversion can flourish,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that six distribution and pharmacy companies have created conditions in which “vast amounts of opioids have flowed freely from manufacturers to abusers and drug dealers” within the 14 northeastern Oklahoma counties that comprise the Cherokee Nation.
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