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AG Beshear Files Eighth Lawsuit Blaming Pharmaceutical Companies for Opioid Crisis

Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s attorney general is suing another pharmaceutical manufacturer for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis. 

Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court against Pennsylvania-based Teva Pharmaceuticals. 

In a news conference, Beshear accused Teva of promoting highly addictive Fentanyl-based cancer drugs for off-label use.

"Teva's products were approved for a narrow use, to treat cancer and end of life pain, but for Teva, that was not profitable enough," stated Beshear.

Beshear says Teva marketed its drugs Actiq and Fentora to physicians other than oncologists, and that the drugs were not approved to treat chronic pain. 

The lawsuit against Teva is the eighth opioid-related lawsuit Beshear has filed against drug manufacturers and distributors that he says have fueled the state’s abuse of powerful prescription pain relievers. 

Beshear has already sued distributors, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp.  He has also filed lawsuits against manufacturers Johnson and Johnson, Walgreens, Mallinckrodt and Endo Pharmaceuticals.  The attorney general says those pharmaceutical companies, combined, are responsible for supplying 85% of opioids in Kentucky.

Beshear is asking state lawmakers to create a trust fund for money recovered from the lawsuits.  The funds would be spent on addressing the opioid epidemic  through law enforcement, prevention, and treatment efforts.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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