~ Action is part of bipartisan coalition’s multistate investigations into opioid manufacturers and distributors’ practices related to the nationwide opioid epidemic ~
Richmond, Va. – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general is seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids as part of multistate investigations into the opioid epidemic. This information will enable the attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. Attorney General Herring and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general are participating in the multistate investigations.
Nationwide and in Virginia, opioids – prescription and illicit – are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths nationwide in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled nationally since 1999.
“We lost over 1,100 Virginians to the opioid crisis just last year, and everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to ensure we don’t lose another life to this devastating epidemic,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan investigation into the culpability of opioid manufacturers in creating, sustaining and extending the opioid epidemic, and I’m glad to see it move forward. I will continue my ongoing efforts to combat this crisis and help save lives in Virginia.”
The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma. Likewise, the attorneys general sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.
Attorney General Herring and his fellow state attorneys general are using these investigative tools to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve this crisis.
Attorney General Herring has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, education, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth. Attorney General Herring recently outlined his recommended next steps for combating the crisis, focusing on law enforcement initiatives, support from the medical community, and recovery, treatment, prevention and education.