LATEST: State lawsuit against major opioid distributors

Michigan News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Major opioid distributors were at a videoconference hearing this morning at the Wayne County Circuit Court in a lawsuit filed by the state in December.

The lawsuit alleges that Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., and Walgreens lacked oversight of the distribution and sale of opioid products.

The defendants argued a motion to dismiss the state’s claims including denying a duty to prevent illegal diversion of opioids.

The State says the companies have a responsibility to ensure that these highly addictive medications are not diverted into illegal distribution.

“The actions and inactions taken by these companies puts them on the wrong side of Michigan’s Drug Dealer Liability Act and they must answer for the harm their negligent and careless business models have created,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel who is representing the State of Michigan in the lawsuit.

The state has multiple charges against the companies including encouraging opioid flow into illegal secondary markets and choosing not to report suspicious orders.

If the companies knowingly participated in the illegal distribution of the prescription opioids purchased by Michigan residents, the suit charges they are liable to the state of Michigan under the Drug Dealer Liability Act for damages caused by opioids acquired from their distribution channels.

Damages include funding for increased law enforcement and prosecution efforts as well as paying for added health care expenses, drug treatment programs and incarceration.

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