Attorney General Laxalt and 40 Other Attorneys General Issue Investigative Subpoenas to Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Distributors in National Opioid Investigation

September 19, 2017

Carson City, NV –Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced a new step in his ongoing investigation with a bipartisan coalition of 40 attorneys general to help address the opioid crisis in Nevada and around the country. In the wake of this investigation, AG Laxalt and other participating states have begun demanding documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. This information will enable the attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors were engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale and distribution of opioids.

Thus far, participating attorneys general have served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on prescription opioid manufacturers Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma. Additionally, the coalition has sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution businesses.   

“My office is continuing to combat this opioid crisis on several fronts,” said Laxalt. “By issuing subpoenas, my office has taken another significant step in the ongoing investigation into the business practices of opioid manufacturers and distributors. As this investigation progresses, I will continue to work to enhance law enforcement efforts and promote prevention in Nevada.”   

Opioid abuse and misuse results in behavioral and biological health issues that affect individuals, families and communities, and costs the United States more than $740 billion in crime, lost work productivity and health care each year. Nationwide and in Nevada, opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 nationwide deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2016, Nevada was ranked as the sixth highest state for the number of milligrams of opioids distributed per adult according to a study by the Drug Enforcement Agency.   

Though the individual states participating in this investigation will not be identified at this time, the coalition of attorneys general are using these investigative tools to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve this crisis.   

On September 25, 2017, AG Laxalt will give a presentation at Governor Sandoval’s Opioid State Action Accountability Taskforce concerning upcoming opioid related initiatives that are consistent with the recommendations made within Governor Sandoval’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit and Statewide Plan.