Michigan Sues Opioid Distributors as Drug Dealers for First Time

January 2, 2020

Michigan’s attorney general has filed suit against four major drug distributors for their alleged role in the opioid crisis — invoking for the first time a law that allows the state to pursue drug dealers for civil damages.

Attorney General Dana Nessel filed the complaint in the Wayne County Circuit Court against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Walgreens, alleging that they ignored serious red flags in their opioid operations to generate higher profits.

The companies “could have stopped or at least mitigated the effects of the opioid epidemic in Michigan,” the complaint claims. “Instead, they stood by and raked in profits from selling far more opioids than could have been justified to serve the legal and appropriate market.”

The distributors allegedly worked with drugmakers to increase the market for prescription opioids, choosing not to “report, investigate or deny suspicious orders.” The complaint also claims that the companies knew or should have known that some of the opioids were being prescribed by “pill mills.”

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