- Delaware has joined the throng of states suing various corporations and drug makers involved in making, distributing and selling prescription painkillers, Reuters reported.
- Those being sued include opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Endo International, wholesale drug distributors including McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, and retailers CVS Health Corp and the Walgreens Boots Alliance.
- The lawsuit maintains that Purdue and Endo spearheaded an excessive marketing campaign aimed at concealing the risks of using opioids to treat chronic pain in order to disguise the medical consensus that using the drugs for such purposes was dangerous.
With the opioid crisis front and center, states, cities and counties are resorting to legal action to halt drug ease of access and usage.
In addition to Delaware, Indiana has begun actively pursuing a legal case against drug distributors, raising the question of what role the pharmaceutical supply chain has played in the influx of painkillers to the American consumer. Procurement professionals too are being tasked with responsibility, as the government attempts to halt the growing rise of addiction.
"We understand the tragic impact the opioid epidemic has on communities ... but we aren’t willing to be scapegoats."
Spokesperson, Healthcare Distribution Alliance
Distributors are pushing back, arguing that their role is divorced from acquisition to potential addicts.
“As distributors, we understand the tragic impact the opioid epidemic has on communities across the country. We are deeply engaged in the issue and are taking our own steps to be part of the solution — but we aren’t willing to be scapegoats," Healthcare Distribution Alliance spokesperson John Parker told Supply Chain Dive.
Parker explained distributors' roles are just that — to distribute, and not to prescribe.
“Distributors are logistics companies that arrange for the safe and secure storage, transport and delivery of medicines from manufacturers to pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and others based on prescriptions from licensed physicians. We don’t make medicines, market medicines, prescribe medicines or dispense them to consumers," he noted.
“Given our role, the idea that distributors are solely responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and how it is regulated, " he continued. "We are ready to have a serious conversation about solving a complex problem and are eager to work with political leaders and all stakeholders in finding forward-looking solutions.”