Addiction to painkillers, and other opioid drugs, is a serious problem in the state of West Virginia. According to a CBS News report, West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation. Each year doctors write the equivalent of one painkiller prescription for every man, woman and child in this state of 1.8 million people. The painkiller problem has become so severe that state legislature has stepped in to make changes, and has led to the addicts suing doctors.
More than 30 addicts have sued their doctors for enabling their addiction. Many of these patients suffered from work related injuries and had to rely on painkillers in order to continue working.
Patients are not the only ones filing lawsuits regarding this subject. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed a lawsuit against McKesson Corporation, a prescription drug distributor, for allegedly failing to identify, detect, report and help stop the flood of suspicious drug orders into the state.
According to a CBS San Francisco article, The DEA, along with six states, sued McKesson (a San Francisco based company) in 2008 for supplying hundreds of suspicious hydrocodone orders to rogue pharmacies. McKesson settled, paying more than $13 million in fines and agreeing to closely monitor their pill supply.
In research of McKesson’s involvement in West Virginia, it shows that more than 100 million doses of opioids to a state where the population is 1.8 million. This egregious amount of drugs being sent to a state that has the most overdose related deaths in the country is what has put the company in hot water. McKesson could face tens of millions in legal fees, but for a company that makes over a billion dollars that is simply pocket change.
Hopefully the changes made by the legislation in West Virginia can help the addicts recover and find the treatment they need.