West Virginia cities sue accrediting group over painkillers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Several West Virginia municipalities are suing The Joint Commission, claiming the Chicago-based health care accreditation group downplayed the dangers of prescription painkillers and helped fuel addictions.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the cities of Charleston, Huntington and Kenova and the town of Ceredo filed the class-action lawsuit Thursday in Charleston.

They claim the nonprofit teamed with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and in 2001 issued pain management standards that “grossly misrepresented the addictive qualities of opioids.”

Spokeswoman Katie Looze Bronk says The Joint Commission, a nonprofit dedicated to improving patient safety, “is deeply troubled by a lawsuit that contains blatantly false accusations that have been thoroughly debunked.”

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