HUNTINGTON – Two more West Virginia cities have filed lawsuits against drug wholesalers alleging they are responsible for the opioid epidemic plaguing the state.
The cities of Winfield and Hurricane filed their lawsuits against AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corp., Wal-mart Stores East, Wal-mart Pharmacy Warehouse No. 45 and Walgreen Eastern Co. Inc. on March 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Both cities are seeking for the companies to compensate them for damages sustained as a result of the opioid epidemic.
Between 2007 and 2012, the defendants sold 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia—3.5 million of which was to Putnam County, a county that only has 55,486 residents, according to the suits.
The cities claim the sheer volume of prescription opioids distributed to pharmacies in Winfield and Hurricane is excessive for the medical need of the community and facially suspicious.
“Some red flags are so obvious that no one who engages in the legitimate distribution of controlled substances can reasonably claim ignorance of them,” the complaints state.
The defendants have abandoned their duties imposed under federal and state law, taken advantage of a lack of DEA law enforcement in West Virginia and abused the privilege of distributing controlled substances in these communities, according to the suits.
In January, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster was assigned to oversee the opioid lawsuits in Cleveland, Ohio, as there have been nearly 200 filed against the drug wholesalers in at least five states. At least a dozen West Virginia counties and cities have filed lawsuits against the drug companies.
The cities are represented by Charles R. “Rusty” Webb of the Webb Law Centre and John D. Hurst of Motley Rice.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:18-cv-00400, 3:18-cv-00401