Interesting coincidence this week.
National media reported that attorneys general from 41 states — a broad bipartisan coalition — had banded together to go after the opioid manufacturing industry.
The coalition issued subpoenas seeking information from opioid manufacturers Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, as well as additional subpoenas to Purdue Pharma. In addition, the group is demanding documents from distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
“Our subpoenas and letters seek to uncover whether or not there was deception involved, if manufacturers misled doctors and patients about the efficacy and addictive power of these drugs,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said during his press conference announcing the investigation. “We will examine their marketing practices both to the medical community and the public.”
The coalition included Republicans from many states that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined in a busy campaign of promoting a Republican political agenda through lawsuits around the country. Rutledge was not one of the 41, however.
Rutledge DID send a letter to health insurers this week urging them to consider encouraging alternatives to addictive opioids for pain treatment. She’s also touted a program to educate kids about the dangers of drug abuse.
Why not join legal action about the practices that have led to exponential growth in opioid prescriptions and abuse (Arkansas is an abuse leader)? She’s intervened to protect everything from polluters to those who discriminate against gay people.
Spokesman Judd Deere responded:
Attorney General Rutledge is committed to tackling the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is spreading across Arkansas with an all-of-the-above approach that includes education, prevention and treatment and could certainly include litigation.