Cardinal Health has agreed to pay West Virginia $20 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the company that sells drugs and medical devices of not maintaining adequate controls to prevent the diversion of prescription pain killers.
The details of the agreement were released Monday. In a statement, Cardinal Health said it denies the state's allegations but “recognizes that the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is a multifaceted problem driven by addition and demand.”
Cardinal Health also recently reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to pay a total of $44 million in fines related to narcotics distribution. The Ohio-based company still faces a lawsuit from the McDowell County Commission in West Virginia, arguing that it shipped too many prescription pain pills there.
A Charleston Gazette-Mail investigation found that wholesalers sent 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to the state in six years, a time when 1,728 fatal overdoses on those drugs were recorded.
West Virginia officials last week also reached a $3.5 million settlement with H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co. for similar allegations.
Settlements involving lesser amounts were previously reached against Miami-Luken, Anda Inc., the Harvard Drug Group, Associated Pharmacies, J.M. Smith Corp., KeySource Medical Inc., Quest Pharmaceuticals, Top Rx and Masters Pharmaceutical LLC.
Litigation involving two remaining defendants is subject to a confidentiality order in Boone County Circuit Court.