Delaware wants pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors, and drug stores like CVS and Walgreens to pay for the opioid epidemic.
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced Friday that the state has filed suit against nine companies that make, distribute, and sell prescription opioids.
Denn said the companies should be held responsible for "the harm they have caused to the State and its citizens and to require them to change their conduct to help end the epidemic."
Statistics cited by the attorney general's office says each year more than 50 opioid pills are shipped into the state for every single citizen — including children. Denn said the high-volume coupled with manufacturer knowledge that the products were addictive have helped fuel the crisis.
Three in four people addicted to opioids began using the drugs by taking prescription painkillers either legally or illegally, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry. Drug overdose deaths are contributing to a decrease in life expectancy nationally.
Opioid producers Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Endo Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Opana ER, are listed in the suit.
Prescription drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen, Anda Pharmaceuticals, and H.D. Smith, along with drug store chains CVS and Walgreens are also defendants.
Delaware's lawsuit comes two days after Philadelphia announced it was suing several opioid manufacturers. Forty-one states attorneys general are also coordinating on a national investigation of the pharmaceutical industry.