Attorney General Denn Confirms Delaware’s Involvement In Ongoing National Opioid Investigation and Begins Steps for Independent State Investigation

In response to a Wall Street Journal article describing a national coalition of Attorneys General investigating whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful or deceptive practices in the marketing and sale of opioids, Attorney General Denn confirmed Thursday that the Delaware Department of Justice is actively participating in this investigation.

Attorney General Denn also announced that his office will issue an invitation to private law firms to submit competitive bids to be appointed as special counsel for the Department of Justice to conduct further investigation regarding opioid manufacturers for violation of Delaware state law in the sale and marketing of opioids. The detailed Request for Proposal requires that the work be done on a contingency fee basis so it would not involve the use of state funds.

The national coalition of Attorneys General is examining what role manufacturers of opioid drugs may have played in creating or prolonging the nation’s opioid epidemic. The coalition of Attorneys General is using its investigative tools, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, to determine the appropriate course of action. The national coalition of state Attorneys General is not disclosing the specific companies that are the current subjects of its investigation, which has been underway for some time.

The Request for Proposal for private firms to investigate possible claims may result, if the facts and law provided a legal basis, in a separate lawsuit brought by and in Delaware. The RFP contains detailed provisions to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and transparency in the retention of a law firm, and appropriate state control over any decision to initiate litigation and the conduct of any litigation that is initiated. The RFP is expected to be posted at and by the end of next week.

“These efforts to hold manufacturers of opioids financially responsible where the law allows are an important part of our overall effort to improve prevention and treatment of substance abuse,” Attorney General Denn said. “If our investigations reveal that the manufacturers of these products violated Delaware law, we will seek to have them help pay for the fight to end the epidemic.”