As Investigation into Opioid Crisis Continues, NC Attorney General Demands Documents from Manufacturers and Distributors

What role have opioid manufacturers and distributors played in creating or prolonging the nationwide opioid epidemic?

As Investigation into Opioid Crisis Continues, NC Attorney General Demands Documents from Manufacturers and Distributors
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September 21, 2017

North Carolina Attorney General (AG) Josh Stein announced this week that he is seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids as part of multistate investigations into the opioid epidemic.

This information will allow AG Stein and 40 other state Attorneys General to evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of prescription opioids.

AG Stein is on the executive committee and is taking a leadership role in these investigations.

"The opioid epidemic is among the biggest public health threats we face today," said Attorney General Stein. "In addition to my work in advocating for policies and funding to promote prevention, treatment and enforcement, it is critical that we look at how this crisis was created and has exploded. I will hold accountable any drug manufacturer or distributor that played a role in creating or prolonging this epidemic and require that they become part of the solution."

Four people die each day in NC

Nationwide and in North Carolina, opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths, which now top car accidents as the number one cause of accidental death. In North Carolina, it is estimated that nearly four people die each day from an accidental drug overdose.

AG Stein and his Attorneys General colleagues are investigating opioid manufacturers Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities—as well as continuing their previously announced investigation into Purdue Pharma.

Opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson are also under investigation, and have been asked to provide documents about their opioid distribution practices.

Are opioid manufacturers and distributors culpable?

The Attorneys General are working to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging the nationwide opioid epidemic and, if culpable, determine the appropriate remedy to address this crisis.

The investigation into the opioid manufacturers centers on the possibility that patients and doctors were misled about the addictive nature of these drugs. The investigation into the opioid distributors seeks information related to whether they fulfilled their duty to raise red flags about pharmacies' suspicious drug orders.