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 Attorney General McGraw, sues 14 "Pill Mill" Suppliers in the battle against drug abuse

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PostSubject: Attorney General McGraw, sues 14 "Pill Mill" Suppliers in the battle against drug abuse   Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:29 pm

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Press Release

CHARLESTON –Citing the steep financial and human costs borne by the state and its citizens in the battle against prescription drug abuse, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw today filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Boone County calling for injunctions against 14 out-of-state drug distributors for their roles in creating and profiting from the epidemic.

"Prescription drug abuse costs West Virginians over $430 million a year, devastates families, and hangs enormous burdens on our hospitals, courts, law enforcement, and communities," McGraw said. "With today’s filing, we are seeking to make major drug distributors that have substantially benefitted from prescription drug abuse accept responsibility and pay for their illicit actions."

The action taken against the 14 drug distributors is the latest in Attorney General McGraw’s long-standing efforts to stem the scourge of substance abuse in West Virginia, a state hit especially hard by prescription drug abuse because of pill mills and other factors. Last month McGraw filed a lawsuit to shut down a key supplier of dangerous designer drugs like "bath salts" and "incense." And Attorney General’s Office settlements with major drug manufacturers have secured funding for drug offender rehabilitation, alternative sentencing options, and Day Report Centers throughout the state.

Noting broad cooperation in the concerted efforts to combat substance abuse, Attorney General McGraw reiterated the importance of his office’s alliances with the West Virginia State Police, the Metro Drug Unit, county sheriffs, and local law enforcement agencies.

"It will take the cooperation of a dedicated team fighting drug abuse on many fronts to make West Virginia a safer, healthier place," McGraw said. "With today’s court action, we aim to cut off the distribution routes of prescription drug suppliers."

Attorney General McGraw’s complaint seeks to enjoin 14 "pill mill" companies from distributing any controlled substance for non-medical purposes, recover damages, instate medical monitoring for drug abuse victims, and force the companies to promptly inform state authorities of all suspicious orders for controlled substances from West Virginia.

The attorney general’s complaint states that the drug distributors supplied controlled substances, including oxycodone, to drugstores which dispensed the drugs based on prescriptions from physicians who prescribed them for non-legitimate medical purposes. McGraw says the companies were integral parts of the "pill mill" process.

Pill mills consist of medical providers, pharmacies and distributors that divert prescription drugs for illegitimate medical purposes. "These pill mill schemers are like dealers," McGraw added. "They profit from the suffering of their victims."

The defendants named in McGraw’s suit are out-of-state drug distribution companies registered with the State Board of Pharmacy to do business in West Virginia:

Cardinal Health, Ohio

Miami-Luken, Inc., Ohio

Keysource Medical Inc., Ohio

Masters Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ohio

Quest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Kentucky

Richie Pharmacal Co., Inc., Kentucky

Top Rx, Inc., Tennessee

Amerisourcebergen Drug Corp., Delaware

H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company, Delaware

The Harvard Drug Group, LLC, Michigan

Auburn Pharmaceutical Company, Michigan

J.M. Smith Corp., d/b/a Smith Drug Co., South Carolina

Associated Pharmacies, Inc., Alabama

Anda Inc., Florida

Cardinal Health, one of the defendants named in McGraw’s complaint, has been cited by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency for not taking adequate safeguards to prevent prescription drugs which it distributed from being unlawfully diverted, despite warnings from internal investigators. The DEA further alleged that Cardinal’s "staggeringly high" volumes of pills sent to various dispensers posed "an imminent danger to public health or safety" and thus the DEA issued an Immediate Suspension Order to Cardinal in February.

Based on the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control, West Virginia is the nation’s most-medicated state, filling nearly 7 more prescriptions per person annually than the US average. In 2006, two small pharmacies in Kermit, WV--a small mining town of 300 that Salon.con called "ground zero of the prescription drug epidemic"-- filled prescriptions of hydrocodone totaling 3.19 million dosage units, a total that ranked 22nd for the entire nation. An average pharmacy in the United States dispenses only 97,000 doses in a year.
WV.Gov- Office of the Attorney General

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Attorney General McGraw, sues 14 "Pill Mill" Suppliers in the battle against drug abuse
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