Pennsylvania joins national probe of opioid makers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania has joined a multi-state investigation into whether drug makers illegally marketed and sold their most dangerous drugs.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the coalition of attorneys general are investigating what role opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging the opioid epidemic.

“Three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription opioids, and our ongoing investigation is going straight into the boardrooms of pharmaceutical companies,” Shapiro said Thursday. “We will follow the evidence to hold every person and every company responsible for this tragedy accountable.”

Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) wants to take the investigation a step further.

“Senator Costa introduced legislation today showing his intention to call on the Governor, as well as the Attorney General Josh Shapiro, to file suit against the pharmaceutical industry to make them a partner and part of the solution,” said Stacey Witalec, spokesperson for Sen. Costa.

Shapiro said Pennsylvania saw 4,642 fatal drug overdoses in 2016, a 37 percent increase over 2015.

“The death knows no municipal boundaries,” Shapiro said. “It affects communities all across this great commonwealth, black, white, and brown, rich and poor. No one is immune to this crisis.”

The attorneys general are not identifying any targets of their investigation at this time.

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