Cities across the country are suing opioid distributors - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cities across the country are suing opioid distributors

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Communities are fighting back on our country's opioid epidemic. Thousands of people die every year from this health crisis. WAFF spoke with a lawyer representing Decatur in the fight.

"Morgan County opioid prescription rate is more than double the national average and clearly there is a problem here," said Greg Reeves.

Attorney Greg Reeves along with other lawyers across the country are going after pill distributors to help fight the opioid crisis. The City Council of Decatur gave the ok to file a lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corporation - the three largest distributors.

"Is this going to help the community, is this going to help Decatur, then let’s do it!" Reeves explained.

He said these gatekeepers of drugs have pumped millions of pills into small communities. At the same time telling other people that the pills are not that addictive and then even falsifying records, we believe that under-reporting the number of pills going to certain communities.

Reeves added it’s easy for the government to go after the drug dealers on the streets, but when they wear a fancy tie and suit and are pushing millions of pills why should we look the other way.

"Why should we treat them different, why should we give them a pass," Reeves said. "Our point is that we shouldn't, we should hold them responsible." He plans to file the lawsuit for Decatur by the end of January.

Here is a statement from Healthcare Distribution Alliance spokesperson John Parker, the national trade association representing wholesale distributors (members include McKesson, Cardinal, and AmericSource Bergen):

“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.

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.

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.

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.”

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