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The Latest: Firm in opioid lawsuit: We have checks in place

March 26, 2019

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Latest on a Vermont lawsuit against two pharmaceutical distributors (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

One of the companies named in a Vermont suit accusing two pharmaceutical distributors of failing to monitor opioid sales says it has strong checks designed to prevent the diversion of such painkillers.

The office of Attorney General T.J. Donovan filed the suit in Burlington on Tuesday against Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation. Donovan says the distributors were supposed to “raise the warning flag that too many pills were coming into Vermont.”

He says both Cardinal and McKesson were involved in marketing aimed at increasing sales in Vermont although the companies have denied that.

San Francisco-based McKesson says in a statement that it has no specific response to Vermont’s lawsuit.

But McKesson says it is working to address the opioid epidemic.

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6:08 p.m.

Vermont is suing two pharmaceutical distributors, accusing them of selling ever-increasing amounts of prescription opioids while failing to monitor the sales or acknowledge the quantity of pills was outpacing the need.

The office of Attorney General T.J. Donovan filed a lawsuit in Burlington on Tuesday against Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation, seeking an undetermined amount in damages.

Donovan says the distributors were supposed to “raise the warning flag that too many pills were coming into Vermont.”

He says both Cardinal and McKesson were involved in marketing aimed at increasing sales in Vermont although the companies deny it.

Emails seeking comment were sent to Cardinal and McKesson representatives.

A spokesman for Healthcare Distribution Alliance, a trade association representing wholesale distributors, says the idea that distributors are responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions defies common sense.