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Three drug companies settle WV lawsuits for $800K

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three more prescription drug companies have settled lawsuits with the state of West Virginia, for a total of $800,000, over the huge numbers of pain pills shipped into the state over several years.

The settlements with J.M. Smith Corporation, Top Rx and Masters Pharmaceutical LLC were announced late Thursday in a news release from the state Attorney General’s office. The state Department of Health and Human Resources and the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety also approved the settlements, according to the release. J.M. Smith, also known as Smith Drug Company, agreed to pay $400,000; Top Rx and Masters Pharmaceutical agreed to pay $200,000 each.

The lawsuit against more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies was filed in 2012 by former Attorney General Darrell McGraw and inherited by his successor, Patrick Morrisey. Before Tuesday, six other companies had settled with the state: Miami-Luken, Anda Inc., the Harvard Drug Group, Associated Pharmacies, KeySource Medical Inc. and Quest Pharmaceuticals. The largest settlement, with Miami-Luken, was for $2.5 million.

Five of those six companies settled shortly after the Gazette-Mail filed a motion to unseal records of how many pain pills the companies shipped to West Virginia between 2007 and 2012.

 The records showed, among other things, that:

Masters Pharmaceuticals shipped 1.5 million hydrocodone pills and 859,000 oxycodone pills to West Virginia. In one six-month period, the company distributed 11,400 oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine pills in the Boone County town of Van, which has 211 residents. That works out to 63 pills per person per day.

Top Rx shipped 1.7 million hydrocodone pills alone to West Virginia, the bulk of them to Wayne and McDowell counties.

In all, the state’s lawsuit alleges, the companies shipped 22 million hydrocodone pills and 7.6 million oxycodone tables to West Virginia.

The total gained by the state, after the three settlements announced Thursday, is more than $7.5 million, according to the news release.

See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

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