West Virginia Settles Lawsuit With Drug Distributor for $37 Million

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A major drug company has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing it of contributing to the opioid epidemic in one of the Ohio Valley’s hardest hit states. And officials there believe it’s the largest settlement against a single pharmaceutical distributor.

The McKesson Corporation agreed to pay $37 million to settle a 2016 lawsuit filed by West Virginia, according to an announcement from state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Gov. Jim Justice.

The suit, originally filed in Boone County Circuit Court, accused one of the nation’s largest drug distributors of filling suspicious orders and shipping millions of prescription painkillers to the state.

Terms require McKesson to pay $14.5 million within three days of the case’s dismissal, with five additional payments of $4.5 million each year through May 6, 2024.

The money will be put toward unspecified efforts to combat the addiction crisis.

West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the nation.

The state has previously settled with 12 other pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Previous settlements involved Cardinal Health ($20 million), AmerisourceBergen ($16 million), H.D. Smith ($3.5 million), Miami-Luken ($2.5 million), Anda Inc. ($1,865,250), The Harvard Drug Group ($1 million), Associated Pharmacies ($850,000), J.M. Smith Corporation ($400,000), KeySource Medical Inc. ($250,000), Quest Pharmaceuticals ($250,000), Top Rx ($200,000) and Masters Pharmaceutical LLC ($200,000).

The combined tally of $84 million stands as the largest pharmaceutical settlement in state history, according to the state.

As part of the settlement, McKesson admits no wrongdoing. In a statement, the company claimed it is committed to ending the opioid epidemic.

They are also named in lawsuits filed by Kentucky, Ohio and numerous municipalities across the Ohio Valley.

McKesson reported $208.4 billion in sales last year.