WXXI AM News

Bipartisan coalition of attorneys general form to fight opioid epidemic nationwide

Sep 19, 2017

Credit ag.ny.gov

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a bipartisan coalition to investigate major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

41 attorneys general from across the country have signed on to the effort, which served subpoenas to four pharmaceutical manufacturers Monday: Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals (Cephalon), and Allergan. A supplemental investigative subpoena was served to Purdue Pharma.

The coalition is also asking for documents from AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson., the three companies that manage approximately 90% of the nation’s opioid distribution

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 80%of heroin users report that they misused prescription opioids first. Numbers that Schneiderman says are very powerful.

“Prescription opioids are the on ramp to addiction for millions of Americans."

Schneiderman says systemic change needs to happen in order to combat the nationwide opioid crisis, and they want to investigate if any of these companies engage in unlawful distribution of prescription drugs, and what incentive structures are used in sales.

"If there is any fraud or deception that’s been involved. If there’s misrepresentations being made to doctors or the public about how addictive drugs are how effective they are, we want to know about that. If distributors are not complying with their obligation to flag suspicious orders we want to know about that."

The opioid industry makes nearly $500 billion annually.

The Attorney General says it’s difficult to come by bipartisan cooperation these days and he's grateful for all those who have signed on to the multi state investigation.