Ohio’s largest opioid distributor: ‘(We have) no obligation to public’


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Cardinal Health counsel Jennifer Norris told lawyers during a recent deposition the drug distribution company had no obligation to the public.

The remarks were part of several depositions concerning the various lawsuits against drug companies that became open, according to WOSU in Columbus.

A lawyer asked Norris of the Dublin-based company: “(Can Cardinal Health) ensure that it does what it can to prevent the public from harm?”

Norris answered: “I don’t know that Cardinal owes a duty to the public regarding that. Cardinal Health has an obligation to perform its duties in accordance with the law, statutes, regulations, and guidance.”

WOSU said a Cardinal spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

The statement became public knowledge just days before Cardinal Health told the Columbus Dispatch that it had no role in the opioid crisis, despite distributing over 1 billion pills in Ohio over an eight-year period, the most of any drug distributor.

In a statement to the dispatch, Cardinal Health’s Brandi Martin said, “Cardinal Health did not have access to the full set of data with information about the total shipment of opioid medicines a particular pharmacy received from other distributors. The (Drug Enforcement Agency) is the only entity to have had all of this data, and other entities, like the local government’s currently suing Cardinal Health, could have sought access to it. Cardinal Health questions whether this happened and, if not, why?”

Cardinal Health paid the DEA $34 million to settle allegations that the company failed to flag orders from what the dispatch called “rogue internet pharmacy websites.”

“Despite DEA’s repeated attempts to educate Cardinal Health on diversion awareness and prevention, Cardinal engaged in a pattern of failing to report blatantly suspicious orders,” Michele M. Leonhart, acting DEA administrator said in 2008.

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