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Lily's Place listed as part of a lawsuit against drug companies

Lily's Place in Huntington one of many groups Cardinal Health says also contributes to the area drug problem. (WCHS/WVAH)

An organization in Huntington that's part of the solution to the opiod crisis finds itself in the middle of legal action. Both Huntington and Cabell County are suing Cardinal Health of Columbus, Ohio, claiming they contributed to the problem, and now Lily's Place is caught in the middle of the legal battle.

Lily's Place in Huntington helps wean babies born addicted to drugs off drugs, and now it is part of a list from Cardinal Health saying Lily's Place and others are also part of the opioid problem in the area. "I find that it was kind of absurd because all they did was grab a list of individuals who are licensed to distribute narcotics and threw it together without doing any vetting of the list," said Executive Director Rebecca Crowder.

She says infants that come for treatment at Lilly's Place could have a variety of different drugs in their system. "They are not given these medications here. We use methodone for the weaning protocol," said Crowder.

"Look at everybody else other than the problem that's right here," said Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, adding Cardinal Health is trying to distract from the real issue that is the drug problem. A spokesperson for Cardinal Health says Huntington and Cabell County have not identified in their lawsuit specific pharmacies involved in the drug problem -- and Cardinal Health says that implicates every person that handles every pill that come into the county.

"The sooner that we all come together and say let's quit trying to say it's somebody else and say we have a problem here that we need to fix," said Mayor Williams.

STATEMENT FROM ELLEN BARRY, SENIOR V.P. OF COMMUNICATIONS, CARDINAL HEALTH:

"We do not dispense medicine directly to patients. We deliver orders to state and dea-licensed pharmacies. The plaintiffs claim that we have knowingly supplied pharmacies that improperly diverted medications from their intended use. Which pharmacies? Which shipments? They do not say.

"It's up to the plaintiffs to identify the source of the diversion they claim and state which, if any of those pills even came from Cardinal Health. They have not identified anyone, but rather just put up a total number of pills. By doing so they implicate every pill and everyone who handled every pill regardless of whether it went to a cancer patient or some other legitimate medical need.

"Furthermore, by suing us for the damage allegedly done to their communities, they implicate their own local law enforcement and municipal authorities, who were in a position to flag for the DEA and BOP local pharmacies who may have been acting improperly. If and when a plaintiff admits that a particular pharmacy did not place any suspicious orders and was not the source of diversion, Cardinal Health will consider amending its notice."

The people of Cardinal Health care deeply about the devastation opioid abuse has caused american families and communities and are committed to helping solve this complex national public health crisis. We are industry leaders in implementing state-of-the-art controls to combat the diversion of pain medications from legitimate uses, and have funded community education and prevention programs for a decade. We operate as part of a multi-faceted and highly regulated healthcare system. We do not promote, prescribe or dispense prescription medications to members of the public - and believe everyone in that chain, including us, must do their part, which is ultimately why we believe the lawsuits filed against us are misguided, and will do nothing to stem the crisis. We will defend ourselves vigorously in court and at the same time continue to work, alongside regulators, manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists and patients, to fight opioid abuse and addiction.

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