STAT, July 12, 2018
Ed Silverman

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A trade group for pharmaceutical wholesalers filed a lawsuit claiming a New York state law that requires opioid makers and distributors to fund a first-in-the-nation program for covering costs for treatment, prevention, and recovery is unconstitutional.

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance claims the Opioid Stewardship Act, which went into effect on July 1, will force opioid makers and wholesalers to pay an estimated $600 million in surcharges over the next six years and, therefore, unfairly singles out these companies to “bear liability for a complex public health epidemic.”

In its lawsuit, the trade group argued the “legislative history indicates a clear intent on the part of New York’s governor and legislature to punish pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for allegedly creating the opioid epidemic.” The HDA also maintained the program “circumvents” the outcome of lawsuits filed by the state and numerous counties against certain opioid makers and wholesalers.

Indeed, the program gets underway as massive litigation filed by cities, counties, and other states across the nation plays out against opioid drug makers and distributors. The opioid makers have been accused of downplaying risks and encouraging inappropriate prescribing, while wholesalers have been accused of failing to properly oversee distribution. [...]

addiction health law policy pharmaceuticals public health