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Tennessee, 40 Other States Demand Documents from Opioid Makers, Distributors

Tennessee's attorney general is spearheading a coalition of 41 states that is demanding documents from several prescription painkiller manufacturers and distributors as it investigates the companies' practices regarding opioids.

The states served subpoenas Tuesday on global pharmaceutical giants Endo International, Janssen, Allergan, and Teva, which bought Cephalon, as part of an investigation into whether the companies "engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids," according to a release from the state.

“The opioid crisis impacts all of us, and is a threat to families in every community in Tennessee and across the country,” said Herbert Slatery, the state's attorney general. “We will use all resources available to identify and hold accountable those parties responsible. There is too much at stake not to attack this problem from all sides.”

Overdose deaths continue to rise in Tennessee, fueled in large part by both prescription and illicit opioids. In 2016 across the state, at least 1,631 people died from overdose, which could be from opioid or other drugs such as methamphetamine.

There is also a supplemental civil investigative demand on Purdue Pharma, which is being sued by other states over its opioid marketing practices.

The Tennessee-led coalition also sent demand letters to distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

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