CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia will receive $36 million from two prescription drug wholesalers following a settlement reached between the state government and the companies.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the Attorney General’s office announced Monday AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health will pay $16 million and $20 million respectively to resolve allegations of shipping massive amounts of prescription pain medication into the state. As part of the settlement, both companies have denied any wrongdoing.
The settlement ends a more than four-year-long legal battle between West Virginia and 12 pharmaceutical companies, with AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health being the largest two organizations. Then-Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed the lawsuits in 2012 along with the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Current-Attorney General Patrick Morrisey inherited the case upon taking office in January 2013.
In total, $47 million will be paid to the state.
After paying legal fees, money will go toward both the trust fund as well the Attorney General’s office. Tomblin said the trust fund supports drug abuse and prevention efforts.
“Will $36 million cure the problem and get these people back on line? No,” Tomblin said. “But I think it will continue to keep the programs we’ve got going and adding additional programs that we need. But it’s going to be expensive down the road.”
Tomblin said he has asked Morrisey to put the money his office receives into the fund.
“If we all as a state are working and trying to fund the same programs, that it would best,” Tomblin said. “I would hope he puts his share of the settlement into this trust fund, also.”
AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health are required to pay the full amounts by March 1.