STAT, August 31, 2018
Lev Facher

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WASHINGTON — For a year, lawmakers here have made bogeymen of pharmaceutical wholesalers, accusing the corporations of accelerating the opioid crisis by callously dumping addictive pain drugs into small towns that didn’t need them. But now, a federal court is flipping the script.

The U.S. District Court in Alaska ruled this month that the drug distributor AmerisourceBergen must continue to ship opioids to a pharmacy in Anchorage, Alaska, even though the distributor itself flagged the orders as excessive and suspicious.

It is a decision that defies a conventional wisdom developed by Congress, a presidential commission, law enforcement, and a bevy of pending lawsuits, all of which place at least some blame for the country’s addiction epidemic on distributors. They say the corporations focused on their bottom line at all costs, even in the face of skyrocketing overdose and addiction rates. [...]

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