Dublin-based Cardinal Health has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by West Virginia authorities alleging it fed the state's opioid epidemic by failing to properly oversee and report significant increases in orders for prescription drugs.
Jim Letizia reports.
Terms of the settlement are expected to be released in early January, under an order issued by a county judge in West Virginia. Cardinal has declined comment. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration records show Cardinal shipped 241 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia between 2007 and 2012. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recused himself from the lawsuit in 2013. His wife at the time lobbied for Cardinal Health in Washington. She resigned the account earlier this year.This is the latest of several settlements Cardinal and other distributors have agreed to since the federal government broadened the fight against painkiller abuse. Earlier this month, Cardinal agreed to a 44 million dollar settlement for failing to report large orders for painkillers in 2011 and 2012. The settlement resolved the outstanding civil penalty from a case Cardinal settled in 2012 with the DEA. That year, the company agreed to a two year suspension of its license to ship drugs from a Florida facility after the DEA said Cardinal improperly distributed prescription pain pills. In 2008, Cardinal settled with the DEA for 34 million dollars over allegations it failed to notify the agency about suspicious shipments of drugs to pharmacies that sold them online illegally.