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Gazette-Mail seeks pain-pill shipment records

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Gazette-Mail has asked a judge to unseal court documents that include details about prescription pain pills that out-of-state drug wholesalers have shipped to West Virginia.

The 11 drug-shipping companies are fighting to keep the records secret.

This week, the Gazette-Mail, which has reported extensively on West Virginia’s prescription opioid problem over the past two years, filed a motion that asks Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson to unseal court records in a lawsuit filed by the state against the drug wholesalers.

The newspaper argues that the public has the right to see the specific allegations in the state’s lawsuit because it was filed on behalf of West Virginians. The information could shine light on the drug companies’ role in the state’s pain-pill epidemic.

“It has caused untold misery and heartache,” wrote Gazette-Mail lawyers Pat McGinley and Tim Conoway. “It has destroyed countless families. Many believe West Virginia has lost at least one generation of its citizens.”

The state Department of Health and Human Resources, along with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, are suing the drug distributors…

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