Nevada adds retailers, more drug companies to opioid lawsuit

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pillsA federal suit filed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval’s administration against Purdue Pharma will now include McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Actavis Pharma, Insys Therapeutics and members of the Sackler family.

Last week Insys Therapeutics filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the wave of lawsuits filed by states and municipalities across the nation.

The Nevada suit was filed “to eliminate the hazard to public health and safety caused by the opioid epidemic, to abate the nuisance in this State, and to recover civil fines arising out of Defendants’ false, deceptive and unfair marketing and/or unlawful diversion of prescription opioids (hereinafter “opioids”). Such economic damages were foreseeable to Defendants and were sustained because of Defendants’ intentional and/or unlawful actions and omissions.”

The state is represented by Robert Eglet, who is the former law partner of Attorney Genera Aaron Ford.

The national trade association representing distributors, including some named in the suit, says its members have no role in the research, testing, marketing or prescribing of opioids, but rather are logistics experts.

“The idea that distributors are responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and is regulated,” John Parker of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance said in a statement.  “Those bringing lawsuits would be better served addressing the root causes, rather than trying to redirect blame through litigation.”

Damages cited by the state include “Medicaid funds paid out as a result of Defendants’ wrongful conduct within the State of Nevada; the prospective damages associated with abating the nuisance created by the Defendants; as well as fines attributable to the thousands, if not millions, of incidents of wrongful conduct by Defendants within the State.”

Several Nevada cities and counties have separately filed suits against the manufacturers and distributors.

Bloomberg reported last week that municipalities are collectively attempting to negotiate a settlement.

This story was updated with comment from the Healthcare Distribution Alliance

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.

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