In response to the nationwide opioid crisis, forty-one state attorneys general issued subpoenas to five opioid drug manufacturers and three drug distributors this week. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made the first public announcement of the multistate investigation.  The subpoena demands information and documentation from the manufacturers and distributors regarding prescription opioid drugs as part of an investigation into the alleged unlawful marketing and distribution of these drugs.

At his press conference, Schneiderman commented, “Too often, prescription opioids are the on-ramp to addiction for millions of Americans. We’re committed to getting to the bottom of a broken system that has fueled the [opioid] epidemic and taken far too many lives. New Yorkers whose families have been torn apart by the opioid crisis deserve to know if the industry put its bottom line ahead of patient safety. My office is committed to using every tool at our disposal to curb the epidemic and get those affected by it the help they need and the justice they deserve.”

Several other state attorneys general have already filed individual lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, including AGs from Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.  None of these states is involved in this multistate investigation.

On a related note and in response to the nation’s opioid crisis, CVS Pharmacy has just announced that it will limit filling opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply for certain conditions, becoming the first national retail chain to do so.  When filling prescriptions for opioids, pharmacists will also be required to talk to patients about the risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home, and proper disposal of the medications.  CVS says that it will roll out these initiatives beginning in early 2018.