Judge David Faber ruled that opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson did not create a public nuisance by distributing 81 million pills over the span of eight years in Huntington and Cabell County.
“The distribution of medicine to support the legitimate medical needs of patients as determined by doctors exercising their medical judgment in good faith cannot be deemed an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public,” Faber wrote.
The judge stated that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the wave of addictive painkillers were because of unreasonable conduct, and that the defendants were acting in a legitimate response to keep up with the demand set by doctor prescriptions.
“I don’t know what more that we needed to prove,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said. “It was a collaborative effort of the manufacturers, the distributors, and the pharmaceutical companies.“
Huntington and Cabell County asked for more than $2.5 billion in order to fund opioid response programs as part of a 15-year abatement plan.
According to Williams, the defendants denied responsibility to assist in the community’s recovery.
“One thing that frankly aggravated me in the trial is when the defendants were indicating that the City of Huntington should be paying for all these recovery programs,” he said.
Williams indicated that the plaintiffs plan on meeting with legal counsel to discuss their next steps.