Judge unseals painkiller records

A Boone County judge has issued an order to unseal court records that drug distributors have sought to keep secret for more than a year, according to the May 7 edition of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The state sued 11 of the nation’s largest prescription drug distributors in 2012, alleging they shipped excessive quantities of controlled substance products into the state which contributed to abuse and addiction.  The state’s Department of Health and Human Resources and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety were parties to the suit.

The court records disclose allegations about the number of prescription painkillers the companies have shipped to West Virginia pharmacies in specific towns and regions of the state.  “The court finds that there exists a longstanding right of public and press access to legal proceedings and documents,” said Circuit Judge William Thompson.  The Judge previously ordered the records sealed.

The drug wholesale companies argued that the records include “confidential business and sensitive sales data” that must me shielded from the public and kept out of their competitors’ hands.

The companies named in the lawsuit are: Amerisource Bergen; J. M. Smith Corp; The Harvard Drug Group; Anda Inc.; Associated Pharmacies; H. D. Smith Wholesale Drug; Key-Source Medical; Masters Pharmaceuticals; Quest Pharmaceuticals; Richie Pharmacal; and Top Rx.