Utah AG seeks info from drug companies on opioids and that could lead to a lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is joining 40 of his counterparts across the nation seeking information from drug companies about the marketing, sale and distribution of opioids.

The information they glean could be used in potential litigation similar to states’ lawsuits over “Big Tobacco.”

In a statement Tuesday, the Utah Attorney General’s Office announced it had signed on to investigative subpoenas and demand letters to a number of drug manufacturers.

“The attorneys general seek to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve this crisis,” the Utah Attorney General’s statement reads.

Some of the companies have already indicated a willingness to cooperate with the states, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said.

The investigative subpoenas come the day after the state sent a letter to insurance companies asking them to review their policies that may contribute to the opioid epidemic.

Utah policy leaders have said the state is in the midst of an epidemic. In 2015, as many as 646 people died from opioid-related deaths.