DETROIT (WXYZ) — On Tuesday Michigan became the first state to sue major drug distributors for the opioid crisis.
The state Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court against Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation and Walgreens.
It accuses drug distributors of not just being negligent, but purposefully selling more opioids than could possibly be medically necessary.
“They failed to report and take steps to halt suspicious orders when they were identified and as a result of their individual and collective conduct our state has experienced both a flood of prescription opiates available for illicit use and sale and a population dependent on them,” said Dana Nessell, Michigan Attorney General.
Nessel says nearly three billion opioid pills came into Michigan over seven years
“It takes a coordinated effort to prevent further suffering from opioid abuse, to be able to treat successfully those who want help and to reduce harm to those suffering. We are all here today because we are prepared to use every tool in our tool boxes to reach that goal,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).
One of the companies named in the suit, AmerisourceBergen, provided a statement saying in part, “We are dedicated to doing our part as a distributor to mitigate the diversion of these drugs without interfering with clinical decisions made by doctors, who interact directly with patients and decide what treatments are most appropriate for their care.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the opioid crisis cost more than 2,000 people in our state their lives last year.