MADISON – AmerisourceBergen has filed a court document asking Circuit Judge William Thompson to deny a request made by the Charleston Gazette-Mail to unseal court records.
ABDC, along with other drug wholesalers, requested that Thompson reject the newspaper’s request to unseal court records that include details about the companies’ prescription pain pill shipments to West Virginia, according to the April 19 court document.
The drug companies claim that the information that contained in the documents is also available from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy.
“To be clear, all of the information that the Gazette may wish to see, and much more, is held by the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration,” the document states. “Nationally, quotas for the dosage units or quantities of every controlled substance that may be manufactured by every manufacturer in the United States of America are set by the DEA each year; further, the details of every shipment of ever controlled substance by every wholesale drug distributor to every pharmacy in West Virginia are reported to and maintained, mineable, sortable, etc. within the DEA’s ARCOS database.”
Complete and detailed information about controlled substances that are legally distributed into West Virginia are fully maintained in excruciating detail by the DEA, according to the document.
“The bottom line is that this is civil litigation,” the document states. “It is not a government enforcement action; it is not a government regulatory actions; it is not a proceeding governed by the Freedom of Information Act, state or federal; and it is not an automatically ‘open book’ that the Gazette or any other member of the public is permitted to review.”
Earlier this month, the Charleston Gazette-Mail filed a motion asking Thompson to unseal the complaint in the 2012 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office and two other state agencies against ABDC and 10 other drug companies.
The newspaper contended that the public had the right to see the allegations in the lawsuit because it was filed on behalf of West Virginians.
The lawsuit was initially filed by former Attorney General Darrell McGraw and Patrick Morrisey took over the lawsuit when he became attorney general. The suit claims that the companies helped fuel the prescription drug problem in the state.
Thompson said he would rule on the matter next week.
A.L. Emch, one of ABDC’s attorneys, wrote that the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s motion is premature, unnecessary, unsupported by case law in the area, is ill-advised and should be denied.
ABDC is also represented by Robert O. Passmore of Jackson Kelley PLLC; and Meredith S. AUten and Eric W. Sitarchuk of Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
Boone Circuit Court case number: 12-C-141