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Kasich Says Ohio Will Consider Suing Drug Distributors, After New Opioid Report

State of Ohio
Governor's office

A report from 60 Minutes and the Washington Post on Sunday suggested Central Ohio-based Cardinal Health and other opioid painkiller distributors persuaded Congress to weaken the Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority.

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which passed last year, dismantled a key tool the DEA used to suspend suspicious shipments of opioids.

Gov. John Kasich said his office is checking into whether to include distributors in the state's lawsuit against drug companies.

“You always have to look at claims and you have to look at them thoroughly and find out what the truth is. And that’s precisely what we’re doing. So we are examining it right now,” Kasich said. "We're looking into what are the facts before we decide anything. We've got to find what the facts are."

Ohio is already suing five manufacturers of prescription painkillers, claiming they downplayed the dangers when they aggressively marketed those drugs to doctors, who prescribed them to patients who got addicted. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown says he’s troubled that the DEA under the Obama administration didn’t raise alarms about the bill to the administration and Congress.

“I guess their answers were they were so beaten down by the drug industry, but their job is to stand up to the drug industry,” Brown says.

Several Ohio cities and counties have already filed suit against Cardinal Health, along with McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen.