41 State Attorneys General expand opioids investigation
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that California and 40 other states are expanding their investigation to seek information from additional pharmaceutical manufacturers and the three largest distributors of opioids to determine if the companies engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids.
Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths nationwide in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2015, California had the third most deaths, with nearly 2,000 Californians losing their lives due to overdose related to opioid use.
“The opioid crisis is devastating our communities. This multistate investigation aims to determine what role drug companies may have played in furthering this crisis,” said Attorney General Becerra. “With so many of my colleagues in other states partnering in this investigation, I look forward to getting answers that will help us attack some of the root causes of and those responsible for the opioid crisis.”
The Attorneys General served written requests for documents and information, known as civil investigative demands, on pharmaceutical manufacturers Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities. They also served a supplemental civil investigative demand on Purdue Pharma. Further, the Attorneys General sent letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson seeking documents pertaining to their opioid distribution business.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting the safety and health of families and consumers in California. In June, Attorney General Becerra announced that a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general was investigating opioid manufacturers’ potential role in creating or prolonging the opioid epidemic. Last year, the Office of the Attorney General sued a pharmaceutical company for inflating prices for opioid addiction treatment. The California Department of Justice also maintains California’s prescription drug monitoring program, CURES 2.0, which allows health providers and pharmacists to flag at-risk patients and curb prescription drug abuse.