"Each Manufacturer Defendant used both direct marketing and unbranded advertising disseminated by seemingly independent third parties to spread false and deceptive statements about the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use—statements that benefited not only themselves and the third-parties who gained legitimacy, but all opioid manufacturers. Yet these statements were not only unsupported by and contrary to the scientific evidence, they were also contrary to pronouncements by and guidance from the FDA and CDC based on that evidence. They also targeted susceptible prescribers and vulnerable patient populations."It claims the defendants spent more than $14 million on medical journal advertising in 2011, which is nearly triple their amount spent in 2001. The lawsuit also claims each manufacturer defendant "promoted the use of opioids for chronic pain through 'detailers'—sales representatives who visited individual doctors and medical staff in their offices—and small-group speaker programs."
"APF issued education guides for patients, reporters, and policymakers that touted the benefits of opioids for chronic pain and trivialized their risks, particularly the risk of addiction. APF also launched a campaign to promote opioids for military veterans, which has contributed to high rates of addiction and other adverse outcomes – including death – among that target population. APF also engaged in a significant multimedia campaign – through radio, television and the Internet – to educate patients about their 'right' to pain treatment, namely opioids."The complaint explained a long history of the distributor defendants coming under scrutiny from the DEA because of their practices. On September 27, 2006, the DEA sent a letter to each distributor defendant warning that they have a "legal duty to design and operate a system to flag suspicious orders, to report all such suspicious orders, and to exercise due diligence to avoid filling suspicious orders that might be diverted into other than legitimate medical, scientific, and industrial channels," according to the document. On December 27, 2007, the DEA sent a second letter reiterating their point.
"In 2008, McKesson paid a $13.25 million fine to the United States to settle claims it failed to report hundreds of suspicious orders from Internet pharmacies that sold drugs online to customers who didn't have legal prescriptions.Attorneys claim that many of the opioid shipments to Tucson should have been stopped or reported as potential suspicious orders.
In 2008, Cardinal Health paid a $34 million fine to the United States to resolve allegations that it failed to monitor or report suspicious opioid orders.
In 2016, Cardinal Health agreed to pay a $44 million fine to the United States to resolve allegations that it failed to monitor or report suspicious opioid orders.
In 2017, Cardinal Health agreed to pay $20 million to the State of West Virginia to resolve allegations that it failed to monitor or report suspicious opioid orders."