Lincoln – Attorney General Doug Peterson announced a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids as part of multistate investigations into the nationwide opioid epidemic. This information will enable the attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. There are 41 attorneys general participating in the multistate investigations.
Nationwide and in Nebraska, opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015 including 126 in Nebraska, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.
“The opioid crisis this nation faces today is, in part, due to the past actions of certain players in the pharmaceutical industry. The goal of this investigation is to determine who in the industry should bear responsibility under our consumer protection laws,” said Attorney General Peterson.
The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma.
Likewise, the attorneys general sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.
The attorneys general are using these investigative tools to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve this crisis.