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Oklahoma AG Hunter refiles lawsuits against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson

Christian Fernsby |
Attorney General Mike Hunter filed separate lawsuits against three leading opioid distributors for their alleged role in the ongoing opioid crisis.

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Originally filed in Cleveland County as one case, the state has filed three separate lawsuits and changed the venue as part of its legal strategy. The move to Bryan County District Court better represents the overwhelming number of overdose deaths and ongoing addiction crisis in the state’s rural communities.

The state alleges the three companies, AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health and McKesson, fueled the nation’s opioid crisis by supplying massive and unreasonable quantities of opioids to communities throughout Oklahoma.

Attorney General Hunter said greed led to the companies’ decisions to ignore their duties against oversupply and diversion.

“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.”

In 2017, enough opioids were dispensed to Bryan County residents for every adult to have the equivalent of 144 hydrocodone 10 milligram tablets. Between 2006 and 2014, there were 24.1 million pain pills supplied to Bryan County. The three companies were responsible for supplying nearly 70% of those pills.

Bryan County is within a cluster of the rural communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic in the state. Among those counties, Bryan County has the resources to best handle a trial of this magnitude.

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