Medical Contract Approved Despite State Lawsuits Against Company

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia officials have approved a contract with a drug company they have accused of fueling the state’s opioid problem.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the state health agency and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey approved the $657,000-a-year contract to allow Cardinal Health manage a pharmacy at a McDowell County hospital. The contract was approved even though both offices are suing the company.

Former Attorney General Darrell McGraw originally filed the lawsuit in July 2012, accusing the company of shipping an excessive number of painkillers to “pill mill” pharmacies across West Virginia. Morrisey inherited the state’s lawsuit.

Morrisey’s office signed off on the deal in May after being pressed by state Health Secretary Karen Bowling. His office declined to say if the contract could jeopardize the lawsuit.