Associated Press Published

Drug Firm Seeks to Dismiss McDowell County Pain Pill Suit

Map of West Virginia with McDowell County highligted

A major prescription drug distributor is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company fueled West Virginia’s opioid epidemic with excessively large shipment of painkillers.Map of West Virginia with McDowell County highligted

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports an attorney for AmerisourceBergen said McDowell County commissioners are misguided in in blaming drug distributors for the drug problem.

Attorney Alvin Emch says the company only supplied pain pills to federally licensed pharmacies. He says there is no evidence that the company shipped any pills that were diverted for non-medical use.

A newspaper investigation showed the county’s 28,000 residents, were shipped 9 million hydrocodone and 3.2 million oxycodone pills over six years. The county has the highest overdose rate in the U.S.

In January, AmerisourceBergen agreed to pay West Virginia $16 million to settle a similar lawsuit. The company denied wrongdoing.