Nothing Fake Here –
July 9, 2018 – Drug manufacturers, distributors and the federal government object to making the information public. In a court filing last month, lawyers for the federal government argued that doing so would jeopardize the companies’ trade secrets, criminal investigations and violate state public records laws. The database compiles information from the drug industry about the sales and distribution of controlled substances. The government refers to it for law enforcement purposes, although in legal papers it redacted descriptions of how it’s used. A West Virginia judge made some of the data public in 2016. The Gazette-Mail used it to report that 780 million pills flowed into the state of just 1.8 million residents over a six-year period. During that time, more than 1,700 West Virginians died from opioid overdoses. In their filing, lawyers for the Charleston newspaper pointed to that previous decision and the resulting story as an example of why the national distribution data should be released.The information is likely to be key evidence in the litigation over opioids. It’s the only way to trace opioids from manufacturers to distributors to pharmacies, said Paul Farrell Jr., a lead lawyer for plaintiffs suing the drug industry and an advocate of making the data public.