CHARLESTON – After West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office filed a lawsuit against it, McKesson Corp. has terminated its contract with Tug Valley Pharmacy in Mingo County without any advanced notice.
McKesson is the nation’s largest drug distributor and it informed the pharmacy on Jan. 8 that it was terminating its contract. That was the same day Morrisey’s office announced it was suing McKesson for its alleged failure to detect, report and help stop all of the controlled substances coming into the state.
The pharmacy claimed McKesson cut off shipments without advanced warning, which violated its business agreement.
On Jan. 20, Tug Valley filed an emergency petition in Kanawha Circuit Court asking the court to immediately force the drug distributor to provide it with the controlled substances, however, McKesson wrote in response to the petition that continuing business with the pharmacy would be a risk for the company.
Russell Jessee, an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson, wrote in his response to the petition, that McKesson risks having the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency or the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy take regulatory actions if it resumes shipments to Tug Valley.
“McKesson’s decision to stop shipments of controlled substances to Tug Valley Pharmacy was made before McKesson had notice of the filing of the West Virginia Attorney General’s lawsuit,” Jessee said.
Jessee said McKesson’s full position on the pharmacy’s petition for injunctive relief is in its opposition brief filed with the Kanawha Circuit Court.
“McKesson has not restarted shipment of controlled substances to Tug Valley Pharmacy,” he said.
According to McKesson’s response to the emergency petition, Tug Valley Pharmacy has been named in at least eight lawsuits for allegedly negligently filling prescriptions and causing customers to become addicted to controlled substances.
McKesson wrote that it began its investigation into Tug Valley Pharmacy after it learned of the lawsuits against the pharmacy through a CBS News report and that after it realized the large number of prescriptions for controlled substances it was filling, it chose to stop filling prescriptions with the pharmacy.
In his lawsuit against McKesson, Morrisey claimed that the drug distributor sent nearly 100 million doses of painkillers to the state between 2007 and 2012.
(The West Virginia Record covers West Virginia’s legal system in a way that enables their readers, to make the public business their business. As the state’s first and only legal journal, The Record will focus upon civil actions in our courts.)