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AG Jepsen: Multistate Investigations Seek Documents from Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

Attorney General George Jepsen today said that a bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general from across the country have demanded information and documents from both the manufacturers and the distributors of prescription opioid drugs. 

This represents a dramatic expansion and coordination of the investigations by the Attorneys General into the nationwide opioid epidemic. A clear majority of the states' chief legal officers are now pooling resources and coordinating across party lines to address the most pressing public health crisis affecting our country, and doing so with a broad focus on multiple entities at both the manufacturer and distributor levels. 

"Today's announcement marks a significant step in our country's response to the opioid crisis," said Attorney General Jepsen. "While some states have taken individual legal actions, the overwhelming majority of Attorneys General, from both parties and all parts of the country, have now agreed to work together to investigate the marketing, distribution and sale of opioids, and to take further coordinated legal action as appropriate."

The investigation by the attorneys general is now targeting  the following pharmaceutical manufacturers and their related entities:

•    Endo International plc
•    Janssen Pharmaceuticals
•    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd./Cephalon Inc.
•    Allergan Inc.

A previously announced investigation by a coalition of attorneys general focused exclusively on Purdue Pharma. In addition to extending the investigation to these additional manufacturers, the attorneys general have also served a supplemental investigative demand on Purdue Pharma. 

The attorneys general are also seeking documents and information about distribution practices from the following opioid distribution companies, who together manage approximately 90 percent of the nation's opioid distribution:

•    AmerisourceBergen 
•    Cardinal Health
•    McKesson

"This investigation will proceed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner," said Attorney General Jepsen. "If there have been violations of law, we will find them and work aggressively to address them. We also recognize that time is our enemy and that we should pursue all means to ease this crisis as quickly as possible. For that reason, we have encouraged, and will continue to encourage, the pharmaceutical industry – both manufacturers and distributors – to engage constructively with the attorneys general towards meaningful agreements that may be achievable sooner than full scale investigations and litigation may permit. As we have shown in other contexts, broad coalitions of attorneys general can effectively impact national problems through litigation or settlements, often more effectively than they can when acting alone. Our collective efforts are particularly important at a time when many Americans despair about the capacity of government to function effectively in the face of challenges."

Attorney General Jepsen continued, "This crisis affects every state, killing more than 90 Americans every day, and continues to have a devastating impact on Connecticut – tearing apart families and communities and stretching the budgets of local law enforcement and first responders as they do the difficult work on the front lines. Attorneys general can and should play an important role in addressing it. For that reason, I have taken a leading role in organizing this bipartisan multistate effort, and will continue to act as a leader in advancing it."

There are 39 attorneys general participating in the overall multistate investigations, which are organized into subgroups focusing on manufacturers and distributors. Connecticut is taking a leadership role in the subgroup focusing on opioid distributors and is also participating with respect to the investigation of manufacturers.

Opioids – both prescription and illicit – are the main driver of drug overdose deaths nationwide and in Connecticut. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is projecting that more than 1,000 people will die of opioid-related overdoses in Connecticut in 2017

Assistant Attorneys General Jeremy Pearlman, Ann-Marie Degraffenreidt and Lorrie Adeyemi, head of the Consumer Protection Department, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.


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