Is CVS Next? –
September 6, 2019 – …facing the two counties in a test case of whether the drug industry should be forced to pay for the prescription opioid epidemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people since 1999. The Washington Post reported in July that a Mallinckrodt subsidiary, SpecGX, was the single largest manufacturer of the more than 76 billion opioids distributed across the United States between 2006 and 2012. The data came from a Drug Enforcement Administration database that was released after The Post and HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, waged a year-long legal battle for access to it. Endo Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, which made smaller amounts of opioids that were distributed in Summit and Cuyahoga counties, already have settled with those counties. The proposed deal comes during a difficult period for drug companies, including distributors and retail pharmacy chains, which have become targets of legal action by communities devastated by the opioid crisis. On Aug. 26, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million to that state for its role in fueling the opioid crisis there. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, the drug widely blamed for helping to spark the opioid epidemic, is in talks to settle with the 2,000 municipalities in the federal suit and more than 40 states that have filed separate lawsuits, for $10 billion to $12 billion.