CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — An incident that allegedly happened in West Virginia, as well as in other states, is the subject of a nationwide opioid lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen Corp. and its subsidiaries.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ), it filed a civil complaint on Thursday against AmerisourceBergen Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation and Integrated Commercialization Solutions, LLC, alleging the companies violated federal law in connection with the distribution of controlled substances to pharmacies and other customers across the country, thereby contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic.
The DOJ said AmerisourceBergen’s unlawful conduct resulted in at least hundreds of thousands of violations of the Controlled Substances Act, and it’s seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief.
Allegedly, from 2014 through the present day, AmerisourceBergen failed to report at least hundreds of thousands of suspicious orders of controlled substances to the Drug Enforcement Administration, despite legal requirements to do so. The DOJ said the company’s illegal conduct included filling and failing to report numerous orders from pharmacies that AmerisourceBergen knew were likely facilitating the diversion of prescription opioids.
In West Virginia, the DOJ said one pharmacy knew the drugs it distributed were likely being sold in parking lots for cash.
The DOJ further alleges that AmerisourceBergen altered its internal systems in a way that made it so that they only flagged a “tiny fraction” of suspicious orders, thereby enabling diversion and AmerisourceBergen’s failure to report orders it was legally obligated to identify to the DEA.
According to the DOJ, the company could face up to $10,000 for each reporting violation before November 2015, up to $16,864 for each violation between November 2015 and October 2018 and for each violation relating to a suspicious order for a non-opioid controlled substance not reported after October 2018, and up to $109,374 for each violation relating to a suspicious opioid order not reported after October 2018, potentially totaling billions of dollars in penalties if it’s found guilty.