State attorneys general subpoena opioid manufacturers and distributors

A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from 41 states announced a new weapon Tuesday in the fight against America's opioid crisis: a multistate investigation into drug makers and marketers.

"Everyone - including and especially insurance companies - have an obligation to address the opioid epidemic", said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is among the attorneys general who signed the letter.

The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma.

Attorneys general from 35 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are urging health insurers to review their policies for pain management treatment to spark higher use of alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

Opioids are a family of drugs including prescription painkillers like hydrocodone, as well as illicit drugs like heroin.

Citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, Wilson's office says that opioids played a part in the deaths of 761 South Carolinians in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled across the county since 1999.

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"Too often, prescription opioids are the on-ramp to addiction for millions of Americans", Schneiderman said. The total places Tennessee second in the nation, behind only Alabama, in prescriptions of the drugs.

Amerisource Bergen said that it "has taken extensive action to help ensure the safe and secure delivery of these drugs, including reporting suspicious orders to the Drug Enforcement Agency and stopping tens of thousands of suspicious orders from being shipped".

Health officials are blaming Fentanyl, an opioid, for the increase.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, co-leader with Morrisey on the initiative, said attorneys general want to join others to find a solution to the opioid epidemic.

"We lost over 1,100 Virginians to the opioid crisis just a year ago, and everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to ensure we don't lose another life to this devastating epidemic", said Attorney General Mark Herring.

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