US federal judge rules drug distributors not responsible for West Virginia opioid epidemic
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US federal judge rules drug distributors not responsible for West Virginia opioid epidemic

The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Monday ruled in favor of drug companies in landmark case City of Huntington, West Virginia v. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation et al. Drug companies McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health have been found not responsible for the current and ongoing opioid abuse epidemic in West Virginia. 

Judge David Faber determined that doctors and distributors acted in “good faith” and that “while there is a natural tendency to assign blame in such cases, they must be decided not based on sympathy, but on the facts and the law.” Faber went on to state, “there is nothing unreasonable about distributing controlled substances to fulfill legally written prescriptions.”

A representative for Cardinal Health stated:

Today’s ruling will help enable our company to do what we do best — ensuring that health care facilities like hospitals and community pharmacies have access to the medications that patients and care providers need – ranging from blood pressure medications to chemotherapies to COVID-19 treatments and, as appropriate, prescription pain medications.

In an interview with West Virginia Metro News, Huntington mayor Steve Williams said he was “disappointed beyond measure” and felt “hollow” after the decision.

The plaintiffs have yet to announce whether they will appeal the ruling.