DURANT, Okla. (KFOR) – It seems the battle regarding opioids is not over in Oklahoma.
On Friday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed separate lawsuits against three leading opioid distributors for their alleged role in the ongoing opioid crisis.
Initially, the lawsuit was filed as one case in Cleveland County.
However, the state decided to file three separate lawsuits and change the venue to Bryan County, adding that an overwhelming number of overdose deaths occur in rural communities across the state.
The state alleges that AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health and McKesson fueled the nation’s opioid crisis by supplying massive and unreasonable quantities of opioids to communities throughout Oklahoma.
“By law, opioid distributors are required to stop suspicious shipments of opioids and report them to law enforcement,” Attorney General Hunter said. “These companies ignored their responsibilities because they were making billions of dollars, while Oklahomans, especially those in our rural communities, suffered. Even after warnings and paying hundreds of millions in settlements and fines for their irresponsible behavior, the companies persisted. We must hold them accountable for this behavior and for the deaths and continued suffering that occurred from their actions.”
Between 2006 and 2014, state officials say that 24.1 million pain pills were supplied to Bryan County, adding that the three companies were responsible for supplying nearly 70% of those pills.
In the past, all three companies have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and fines for failing to monitor suspicious orders of opioids.