No obligation to the public, opioid distributor tells lawyer

No obligation to the public, opioid distributor tells lawyer
FILE - This April 30, 2007, file photo, shows the headquarters of Cardinal Health in Dublin, Ohio. An executive at Cardinal Health, one of the nation’s largest drug distribution companies, said in a legal proceeding that the business has no obligation to the public when it comes to shipping prescription opioid painkillers. That’s one of the disclosures in thousands of pages of court documents made public July 23, 2019, in lawsuits over the opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — An executive at one of the nation’s largest drug distribution companies said in a legal proceeding that the business does not have an obligation to the public when it comes to shipping prescription opioid painkillers.

That’s one of the exchanges contained in thousands of pages of court documents made public this week in lawsuits between two county governments in Ohio and a group of drugmakers and distributors over the toll exacted by opioids, which have been blamed for more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000. Data shows shipments of the drugs increased even as overdoses mounted.

In a deposition this year, Cardinal Health associate general counsel Jennifer Norris said the company has no obligation to the public but has “an obligation to perform its duties in accordance with the law, the statute, regulation and guidance.”