Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Toby Talbot / AP

The Cabell County Commission in West Virginia is suing a handful of drug distributors, alleging they knowingly turned a blind eye to the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the state by delivering and selling mass quantities of pain medications.

The companies being sued: AmerisourceBergen, CVS, Cardinal Health, H.D. Smith, Kroger, McKesson, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The federal lawsuit filed today said those companies collectively sold 40 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to Cabell County pharmacies between 2007 and 2012. The county's population is less than 100,000. From the suit:

"The sheer volume of prescription opioids distributed to pharmacies in Cabell County is excessive for the medical need of the community and facially suspicious. Some red flags are so obvious that no one who engages in the legitimate distribution of controlled substances can reasonably claim ignorance of them."

Cabell County's lawsuit comes just a few months after the Charleston Gazette-Mail published an investigation that found drug distributors, including many of the defendants in the lawsuit, flooded the state with prescription opioids, equal to "433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia," the newspaper wrote.

One of the drug distributors, Cardinal Health, responded by saying it would defend itself "vigorously" and that "these copycat lawsuits do not advance any of the hard work needed to solve the opioid abuse crisis."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
24 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.