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Kentucky Sues Cardinal Health For Flooding Rural Areas With Opioids

Kiichiro Sato
Associated Press

Kentucky’s attorney general has added a lawsuit by his state to the more than 300 already filed against one of Central Ohio’s biggest companies, accusing it of playing a big role in creating the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit accuses Cardinal Health of unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices. It says the Dublin-based company distributed an excessive number of opioids especially in rural areas of Eastern Kentucky and failed to report shipments of suspiciously large quantities of the drugs.

The suit cites individual counties, such as Clay, where Cardinal distributed more than 5 million doses of prescription opioids. That’s enough for 245 doses for every citizen of the county of just over 21,000 people.

Cardinal has denied similar complaints in other lawsuits, which according to its quarterly earnings report earlier this month now total nearly 350, including 10 class-action suits. Most of the cases have been consolidated into a federal court case in Cleveland.

Cardinal notes that it launched a pilot “opioid action program” in November that includes donating 80,000 doses of naloxone nasal spray to first responders in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. It’s also ramping up its education programs and distributing a medical school training program on opioid misuse and treatment in Appalachia.