McKesson lawsuit remanded back to state court

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 26, 2017

CHARLESTON – A lawsuit filed by the state against McKesson Corp. last year has been remanded back to state court.

District Judge John T. Copenhaver ordered the lawsuit be remanded back to Boone Circuit Court on Jan. 24, granting the state’s motion to remand.

The lawsuit was initially filed Jan. 21 in Boone Circuit Court, before it was removed to federal court in Charleston on Feb. 23.

The suit alleges that McKesson failed to take the proper steps to stop nearly 100 million doses of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone from being shipping in to West Virginia from 2007 until 2012.

The defendant also distributed high quantities of several other scheduled narcotics to pharmacies throughout the state.

McKesson distributed more than 1 million doses of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone to pharmacies and drug stores in Boone County alone—a county which has a population of only 24,629, as of the 2010 U.S. Census. That totals 52.3 doses to every man, woman and child in the county.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Anthony Martin said they are pleased with the judge’s decision.

“It supports our aggressive fight against the opioid epidemic, and we look forward to the case proceeding in Boone County," Martin said.

Copenhaver concluded that the lawsuit contained accusations that McKesson violated state laws and there was only a “smattering” of references to federal law.

The lawsuit alleged that McKesson violated state consumer protection laws, failed to meet industry standards and failed to develop an adequate system to identify suspicious drug orders.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, along with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs after it was filed last year.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen agreed to pay a combined $36 million to settle lawsuits filed by the state. It’s believed to be the largest pharmaceutical settlement in state history. Miami-Luken and other distributors also agreed to settle claims in the attorney general’s lawsuit.

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