West Virginia state agencies have settled half their lawsuits against drug wholesalers accused of illegally supplying opioids. So far, the settlements have totaled $6.7 million from six different pharmaceutical distributors:

  • Miami-Luken – $2.5 million
  • Anda – $1,865,250
  • Harvard Drug Group – $1 million
  • Associated Pharmacies – $850,000
  • KeySource Medical – $250,000
  • Quest Pharmaceuticals – $250,000

The set of 12 lawsuits was filed in 2012 after the state discovered that these companies were supplying “pill mills” with extremely addictive opioid drugs. There are six similar lawsuits left.

West Virginia’s Opioid Epidemic

Between 2007 and 2012, millions of pills were shuttled into West Virginia, as bait for preying upon the state’s poorest citizens.

During that time span, Associated Pharmacies shipped 2.7 million doses of hydrocodone & 266,700 oxycodone pills to the state. KeySource Medical sent 1.2 million hydrocodone pills and 905,000 oxycodone tablets for resale.

Pill Mills Devastate West Virginia’s Poor

Oxycodone and hydrocodone have quickly become popular recreational drugs. The term “pill mills” arose to describe pharmacies which were complicit in selling the illegal prescriptions. One pill mill, a Sav-Rite Pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, was alleged to have dispensed 3.2 million doses of hydrocodone in 2006 alone. In a city with only 392 residents, it’s a number that looked awfully fishy.

Opioid Settlements Less Than 0.25% of Pharma Revenues

Some West Virginia officials in the state have decried the settlement amounts as being too small. Doug Reynolds, one of the candidates for the state’s Attorney General said that the settlement amounts hardly put a dent in the damage the companies had caused.

It’s hard to argue with Reynolds when comparing the settlement fines with the massive profit the pharma companies make. In 2015 Anda made $1.7 billion in revenue and the Harvard Drug Group earned $450 million in 2014. Using those numbers, the lawsuits were settled for only 0.11% and 0.22% of each company’s bottom line, respectively.

Pharma Pill Pushers Granted Secrecy

While their settlement payments seem a pittance, pharma distributors are gaining something even more valuable: secrecy. That’s because West Virginia, in trying to settle the suits as quickly as possible, offered to seal the settlement details if deals were made in time.

Patrick Morrisey, current state Attorney General, said that the settlement money will go to “further the collective fight against substance abuse in West Virginia.”