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Kentucky accuses Cardinal Health of helping fuel opioid crisis

Kentucky sued drug distributor Cardinal Health Inc. for helping fuel the opioid crisis by flooding the state with prescription opioids.

The complaint, filed by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear in the Jefferson Circuit Court, accuses the Ohio-based company of using unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices for excessively distributing prescription painkillers.

In addition, the distributor allegedly failed to report shipments of suspiciously large or frequent orders of opioids.

The lawsuit alleged that Cardinal Health reaped "a windfall off of the wave of addiction" in Kentucky by choosing profits over people.

In December 2016, Cardinal Health agreed to pay $44 million to resolve claims by the U.S. Justice Department that it failed to detect and report suspicious orders of controlled substances to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Reuters reported.

The company has been named in 343 lawsuits as of Feb. 2.

In January, Beshear sued another opioid distributor, McKesson Corp., over similar claims.

Many states, cities and counties have sued companies including Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma LP, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Endo International plc alleging that they played a role in fueling the opioid epidemic.