Opioid Lawsuit News and Updates
Opioid Lawsuit trial news and updates.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Opioid MDL Defendants Lose Bid to Have Bellwether Tossed
October 9, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Rejecting arguments presented by defendant drug companies, pharmacies, and distributors, which argued that claims brought against them by plaintiff Summit County, Ohio should be tossed out, a magistrate judge has paved the way for trial in one of three planned bellwether cases within massive and complex multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the ongoing opioid crisis, Law360 has reported .
For example, the defendant companies had urged US Magistrate Judge David Ruiz to dismiss the plaintiff municipality’s state law claims alleging the defendants mislead the public as to the safety and efficacy of opioid painkillers while downplaying the risk of addiction, saying those claims were preempted by federal law and the drugs’ approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, Judge Ruiz disagreed, allowing Summit County’s claim to stand.
The outcome of Summit County’s case will have enormous ramifications for the numerous other municipalities who have sued those they feel are responsible for the ongoing opioid crisis that continues to ravage their communities. Attorneys for plaintiffs in the MDL applauded the magistrate’s decision.
“This is a major step forward for the over 1,000 communities working to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for the countless lives that have been lost to opioid addiction,” the three co-lead attorneys on the plaintiffs’ executive committee wrote in a statement issued following Judge Ruiz’s decision. “This litigation is the most effective way to secure the resources communities need to address the opioid epidemic for decades to come.”
The first three bellwether trials in the opioid MDL are scheduled to begin in 2019.
Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on the legal fallout from the ongoing nationwide opioid epidemic.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Family of Rock Star Prince Bring Wrongful Death Claims Against Walgreens, Doctor, Hospital Group
August 27, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
In a tragic situation that mirrors tens of thousands of lower-profile instances across the nation, the family of deceased rock star Prince continues to seek accountability from those they believe to be legally responsible for their loved one’s premature death from an opioid overdose. In their latest move, on Friday, August 24, 2018, they brought a wrongful death suit in Minnesota state court, alleging that the drug-store chain Walgreen’s, a doctor who treated Prince in the months preceding his death, the healthcare group that employed the doctor, and a separate hospital group each failed in their duty to recognize the decedent’s opioid addiction and to intervene with appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
Instead, the lawsuit alleges, each party turned a blind eye to the patient’s condition and continued to provide him with the highly addictive, potentially fatal drugs that ultimately would cause his death at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016.
“For an unknown but considerable period of time before his death…Prince suffered from addiction to opioid pain medications,” the complaint says, according to Law360. “All of the defendants had an opportunity and duty during the weeks before Prince’s death to diagnose and treat Prince’s opioid addiction, and to prevent his death. They failed to do so.”
In addition to Walgreen Co., the defendants also include Dr. Michael T. Schulenberg, his employer North Memorial Health Care, and Iowa Health System. Iowa Health System runs a family of affiliated hospitals and clinics doing business under the name UnityPoint Health.
The lawsuit follows a similar wrongful death suit Prince’s family brought in Illinois state court earlier this year. Like the family’s Minnesota claim, the Illinois lawsuit also named Walgreen’s and UnityPoint as defendants. However, the cases involve two different doctors, both of which allegedly provided Prince with prescriptions for opioid medication despite his demonstrating clear signs of addiction and potential abuse.
Both lawsuits came following the conclusion of a two-year criminal investigation examining the circumstances surrounding Prince’s death. Though investigators concluded that Dr. Schulenberg had committed violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act, the doctor entered into an agreement with prosecutors under which he agreed to pay only a $30,000 fine as punishment.
The experience of Prince’s family is significant not for its uniqueness but for the way in which this high-profile case—which has gained widespread notoriety on the basis of Prince’s fame—reflects similar tragedies that continue to impact tens of thousands of families every single year. And while Prince’s family has the resources necessary to properly investigate the circumstances of his death and to bring these multiple claims, the sad reality is that most victims of the ongoing opioid epidemic aren’t so fortunate.
Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal developments relating to the ongoing opioid epidemic!
DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Johnson & Johnson Reports More Than 12,000 Active Lawsuits Over DePuy Hips
August 23, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Babies born to opioid-addicted mothers are among the most innocent of victims to suffer from the ongoing opioid epidemic that continues to ravish individuals, families, and communities across the United States and around the world. Through no fault of their own, infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) come into the world already suffering from an addiction that has proven debilitating and even deadly for millions of full-grown adults. In addition to seizures and other withdrawal symptoms, babies with NAS also are at an increased risk of low birth weight, cognitive impacts, and other afflictions.
Despite prior rejections, attorneys representing babies born with NAS in federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the opioid epidemic continue to push for their clients to be granted their own track within the highly complex MDL. The babies’ lawyers argue that that committee comprised of different plaintiff groups has failed to adequately reflect their clients’ interests and even has actively excluded them from the ongoing discovery process, according to Law360.
Lawyers for babies born with NAS assert that their clients, who literally lack a voice in the matter and who face an entire lifetime of challenges resulting from their mothers’ opioid addiction, are at risk of being overlooked by the legal process.
In a new motion filed Tuesday, August 21, 2018, attorneys for the infant plaintiffs wrote, “The court created the Native American track so that they would not be marginalized," citing an example of a separate track that has been approved. "Here the [NAS] babies are currently marginalized completely."
In addition to Native American tribes, third-party payors also have been granted a separate track within the MDL, which is being overseen by Judge Dan Aaron Polster in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Voiceless children deserve to have separate counsel and these NAS babies deserve to be heard and represented in this opioid crisis," said attorney Scott Bickford, who represents opioid-addicted babies, according to Law360. "Despite thousands of NAS babies being born each year, the states and local governments have done little to address this epidemic or the life-long issues which follow these children. We are hoping the court reconsiders its position, recognizes the plight of these children and allows them a clear voice in the multidistrict litigation."
Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on the legal fallout from the ongoing opioid epidemic!
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Idaho, Georgia and Minnesota Tribes Latest to Sue Opioid Makers, Drugstores Over Crisis
August 20, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
With the opioid epidemic still ravishing individuals, families, and communities across the nation, new lawsuits continue be filed against drug makers, distributors, and drugstores, seeking to hold them accountable for the highly addictive, highly deadly drugs that have flooded America’s streets to catastrophic effect.
In just the past week, amidst a Center for Disease Control report revealing that there were 72,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States in 2017 alone and statements from President Trump indicating that he may push for Justice Department action against opioid makers and distributors, new plaintiffs include counties across Idaho, Georgia municipalities, and several Native American tribes in Minnesota.
The Idaho Statesman reported August 17 that 11 counties in the state have brought suit against drug makers and drugstore chains, alleging that the companies were aware of the dangers posed by opioid drugs and that the drugs were being used for improper purposes.
Pharmaceutical companies named in the suit include Purdue, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva. Other named defendants include the popular drugstore chains Walmart, Kroger, CVS, and Rite Aid.
The Idaho counties accuse the companies of fueling the rise in opioid-related deaths within the state, citing reports that “prescription opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 45 to 77 between 2012 and 2016” and that “[i]n 2016, there were 119 opioid-related overdose deaths in Idaho (including non-prescription opioids).”
Among overdose deaths and other harms, the lawsuit highlights the devastating effect the opioid crisis has had on children.
“The deceptive marketing, overprescribing, and oversupply of opioids also had a significant detrimental impact on children in Idaho,” the complaint reads, according to the Statesman. “Young children have access to opioids, nearly all of which were prescribed or supplied to adults in their household, and children have themselves been injured or killed. Children of parents addicted to opiates, described as the ‘invisible victims of the epidemic’ are flooding the child protection system.”
Meanwhile, according to an in-depth piece published August 17 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to date over 70 municipalities in Georgia have sued drug makers and others they allege to be responsible for the opioid epidemic’s impact on their communities.
Fulton County, the first Georgia municipality to sue, did so in fall 2017, and since then several dozen others have followed suit.
At the time, Rod Edmond, an attorney representing Fulton County as well as a family doctor, explained the basis for the allegations.
“This is serious for our community,” Edmond told reporters, according to the Journal-Constitution. “The claim that we have is very simple: These opioid manufacturers and distributors have been flooding our nation with these dangerous drugs for money — for greed.”
Additionally, the Bemidji Pioneer has reported that on August 16, four Native American tribes in Minnesota have joined 11 other tribes nationally in bringing suit against drug makers and distributors, accusing them of downplaying the addictive qualities of opioid drugs while failing to comply with federal laws intended to prevent their improper distribution and illicit use.
The Minnesota tribes filing suit this week include Prairie Island Indian Community, Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Upper Sioux Indian Community, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. All four tribes are located in southern Minnesota.
Opioid-related deaths in Minnesota totaled approximately 400 annually for 2016 and 2017, according to preliminary state department of health data cited by the Pioneer.
Stay Tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on the legal fallout from the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Opioid Lawsuit Settlement News Update: Insys Agrees To Pay At Least $150 Million Over Doctor Bribery Claims
August 13, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Insys Therapeutics Inc. reportedly has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over claims that it bribed doctors to prescribe its fentanyl spray Subsys, agreeing to pay at least $150 million to stop ongoing criminal and civil investigations into its alleged misconduct, according to Law360.
However, the settlement hardly marks the end of Insys’ legal entanglements over its role in the ongoing opioid epidemic. Under the agreement, the company could be on the hook for as much as $75 million more, while its founder and several former executives continue to face criminal fraud and racketeering charges in Massachusetts.
A number of doctors across several states have pled guilty to accepting bribes from Insys representatives in exchange for increasing their prescriptions of Subsys. According to the DOJ, the scheme caused government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary prescriptions.
The settlement with the DOJ also does not resolve a number of state law claims the drug maker faces in states such as New York, New Jersey, and South Carolina. On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, several states also filed a consolidated claim against Insys under the federal False Claims Act. Those states include California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Virginia.
The cases against Insys represent just a small subset of the broader legal fallout over opioid makers’ role in the epidemic of addiction and overdoses that has ravaged families and communities across the nation. Drug makers face legal action from a wide range of impacted parties, including the federal government, states, municipalities, Native American tribes, insurance companies, and aggrieved individuals. A large number of those proceedings have been consolidated in massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) being overseen by a federal district court in Ohio.
Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest news on the legal fallout from the opioid epidemic.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Cherokee Nation, Perdue Battle Over Venue in Opioid Lawsuit
August 13, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Seeking to avoid having what it argues are state-court claims wrapped up in massive federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), the Cherokee Nation mounted a spirited legal effort Monday, August 6, 2018 to convince a federal district court judge that its claims against Perdue Pharma over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic belong in Oklahoma court.
The Cherokee Nation originally brought its claims in Oklahoma state court, alleging that Perdue Pharma LP, Purdue Pharma Manufacturing Inc., Perdue Frederick Co. Inc., and Perdue Pharma Inc. collectively share a high degree of culpability for the ongoing opioid epidemic that continues to ravage communities across the nation. The companies are the makers of OxyContin, an early and highly popular form of opioid painkiller.
In its original petition to an Oklahoma state court, the Cherokee Nation asserted, “Despite all of the known dangers of OxyContin and other opioid drugs they have produced, the defendant companies have employed long-running, deceptive and deceitful marketing campaigns, advocating for the drug’s expanded use while downplaying or outright misstating the dangers of opioid drugs, and by allowing opioids to be diverted into improper channels to fuel the epidemic.”
Now, the tribe accuses Perdue of pushing the lawsuit into federal court without an adequate basis for federal jurisdiction, with the sole intent of delaying justice. In its petition to have the case removed back to Oklahoma state court, the Cherokee Nation wrote, “This court should see Purdue’s removal for what it is: a naked attempt to delay any accountability for years of misconduct. Purdue—along with other opioid manufacturers and distributors—has repeatedly tried this tactic in other cases.”
The motion continued, “If this court does not swiftly remand this case to Oklahoma state court, the Cherokee Nation’s case will be caught up in the MDL and delayed for an unknowable period of time, despite the absence of federal jurisdiction. Delaying this action not only prolongs complex litigation. It threatens the lives and wellbeing of the Cherokee Nation’s citizens.”
The Cherokee Nation knows from experience of what it speaks. In an earlier lawsuit filed by the tribe against McKesson Corp., the defendant company succeeded in having the case pushed to federal district court, from where the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned the case to the Ohio district court overseeing the massive federal opioid MDL.
Remember to check back at TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal fallout from the opioid epidemic!
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Hospital Coalition Urges Judge Not to Dismiss Bellwether Opioid Case
August 13, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
A group representing nearly four-dozen hospitals has come to the aid of a plaintiff health-care provider in an important bellwether case that is part of massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic.
On Friday, August 3, 2018, 44 hospitals requested permission to file a joint brief aimed at rebutting claims made by drugmakers and distributors seeking to have the court dismiss the case summarily.
The plaintiff, Florida-based West Boca Medical Center, argues that the defendants should be held accountable for the unreimbursed costs incurred by it and other health-care providers forced by law to provide emergency care for individuals suffering from opioid overdoses and other opioid-related conditions.
The outcome of the case could have enormous implications for the potential liability of pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors over not just the opioid epidemic but future cases as well.
As the hospital coalition’s brief argues, “While third-party insurers and state Medicaid programs provide some reimbursement to hospitals for such care, a significant amount of the expense goes un- or undercompensated. Amici hospitals are concerned that if the medical community is excluded from this MDL proceeding, recoveries against the manufacturer and distributor defendants will never actually reach the front lines, especially for prevention and future care.”
In arguing that hospitals and other health-care providers should be excluded from the opioid MDL, defendant drugmakers and distributors have relied heavily on the precedent-setting cases against the tobacco industry, in which hospitals similarly attempted to hold companies responsible for unreimbursed costs of care stemming from tobacco-related ailments.
Health-care providers, for their part, have sought to minimize the precedential impact on the present case, even arguing that a Third Circuit decision reached in 2000 demonstrates the importance of allowing hospitals and other providers to have a role in such proceedings. That decision also famously found that the harm suffered by providers was too remote from tobacco manufacture and sale to hold the tobacco companies liable.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Allergan Seeks Indemnity from Pfizer Over Opioid Claims
August 6, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Arguing that it should not be held responsible for claims predating its acquisition of the opioid drug Kadian, Allergan Finance LLC has filed third-party claims against drugmaker Pfizer Inc. and its subsidiary King Pharmaceuticals LLC seeking indemnity for legal costs over claims arising prior to 2009. The third-party claims were filed as part of massive, ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the nation’s opioid epidemic, which is being overseen by a federal district court in Ohio.
According to Allergan, which previously went under the name Actavis, the company purchased the prescription opioid Kadian from King Pharmaceuticals in a deal dated December 2008. Therefore, it asserts, Pfizer and King should be responsible for covering Allergan’s costs in defending claims that arise from actions taken before the sale.
“Allergan’s damages to date include the costs and legal fees that Allergan has expended defending the claims in the lawsuits and civil investigations based on pre-2009 marketing and sale of Kadian,” Allergan’s attorneys argue in the third-party complaint, according to Law360. “Allergan will continue to accrue damages as it continues to defend these claims.”
King Pharmaceuticals was required to divest its interest in Kadian as a Federal Trade Commission-imposed condition of the company’s 2008 proposed merger with Alpharma Inc.
“The allegations in the various opioids complaints reveal that the primary basis for the claims against Allergan is the allegedly improper marketing and sale of Kadian by Alpharma in the months and years before Actavis acquired Kadian in December 2008,” Allergan argued, according to Law360. “Yet Alpharma, King, and Pfizer are not named in the vast majority of the lawsuits both in this MDL and in dozens if not hundreds of state courts throughout the country.”
In response, Pfizer Inc. issued a statement reading, “Allergan’s claims relate to a product that Pfizer never manufactured, marketed or sold. Instead they arise from a historical 2008 contract belonging to King Pharmaceuticals, a company we acquired in 2010. We will review Allergan’s suit and respond accordingly.”
Opioid Trial News Update: Judge Skeptical of Government RICO Charges Against Opioid Execs
July 17, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts conducted a hearing over a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant opioid executives in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case brought against seven employees of Insys Therapeutics Inc. for allegedly engaging in illicit schemes designed to increase prescriptions of its costly and highly addictive fentanyl spray medication.
From the outset, US District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs demonstrated a great deal of skepticism over the government’s case, according to Law360.
“For the life of me, I can’t understand this indictment,” Law360 quoted the judge as saying to the five government lawyers present. “I can’t understand why you’d want to go to a jury with this indictment, I can’t understand how we’d instruct them in any way that makes sense.”
The judge’s chastising continued. “I feel like the people who approved these indictments never tried a case. Can you imagine the jury charge? I know that’s not today’s problem, but just thinking ahead. I’m not even sure what the difference is between counts two and three, other than the words ‘mail’ and ‘wire.’ I don’t even know how to explain that to the jury.”
The remarkable display represented not only an embarrassment for the government attorneys but also a major setback to efforts to hold pharmaceutical executives accountable for their role in the ongoing opioid epidemic that has impacted communities across the country.
Beneath the judge’s confusion lies allegations that executives of Insys engaged in numerous schemes—including paying bribes to doctors—to boost sales of its opioid-based painkiller, potentially leading to unnecessary addictions and overdoses and contributing to the flood of opioids that have hit the US market.
K. Nathaniel Yeager of the US attorney’s office retorted that the indictments contained sufficient evidence to support the charges brought against the executives.
“They bribed doctors repeatedly, glaringly, in black and white, to prescribe the drug to people,” Yeager said, according to Law360. “This case is remarkably different than any case Your Honor has ever seen, and I know who I am talking to when I say this, Your Honor has extensive experience in pharmaceuticals.”
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Doctor Convicted of Running Opioid Pill Mill Denied Appeal
July 12, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Sometime around 2010, then-Doctor Richard Evans began to receive an increased number of Louisiana residents at his Texas medical practice. Coincidentally, approximately two years earlier, in 2008, Louisiana lawmakers had significantly tightened the state’s control over opioid prescriptions. Two dental assistants who worked in the same building as Evans began to take notice. As they later would testify at Evans’ trial, they observed that these patients demonstrated telltale signs of both opioid addiction and impairment.
When the two dental assistants reported Evans to federal authorities, investigators unearthed a massive “pill mill” scheme in which Evans had written in excess of 11,000 prescriptions for the opioid painkiller oxycodone in a little over two years’ time. In total, Evans had provided over 1.6 million opioid pills in exchange for almost $2.5 million in payment.
Following trial, Evans was found guilty of mail fraud and money laundering in addition to writing illegal prescriptions for the highly addictive, potentially fatal drugs. After he was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, Evans appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but on Friday, July 7, 2018, a three-judge panel denied the former doctor’s attempt to have his convictions overturned.
Finding that a reasonable jury could have reached the conclusions it did based on the evidence presented, the panel denied Evans’ request, writing in part, “In light of the substantial evidence that Evans ran an illegitimate practice, every fact Evans brings to his defense does little to move the needle in his favor. The jury could reasonably dismiss each precaution or prudent act Evans cites as either wholly inadequate, a vestige of his prior legitimate practice, or in fact a sham designed to hide his operation’s nefarious purpose.”
While doctors such as Evans are being convicted and sent to prison in increased numbers, the Big Pharma drug companies who made billions by downplaying the risks of opioid painkillers while overstating their usefulness continue to muddle their way through complex litigation centered mostly around financial reimbursements. It remains to be seen whether Big Pharma executives will be held accountable for their actions in the same manner as pill mill doctors like Richard Evans, who, though culpable, have acted on a much smaller scale.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Big Pharma Attacks Hospital in Effort to Have Opioid Bellwether Trial Tossed
July 10, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
On June 29, 2018, attorneys representing opioid makers, drug distributors, and pharmacies in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the ongoing opioid epidemic filed multiple motions in an effort to have dismissed the claims of West Boca Medical Center, a Florida-based hospital that sued the companies seeking compensation for unreimbursed costs it incurred providing opioid-related treatment to uninsured patients.
Citing Third Circuit precedent, attorneys for the defendant companies argued vehemently that the case could set a dangerous precedent that potentially would allow hospitals and other health care providers to sue drug companies, medical device makers, or any other business that arguably had caused harm to uninsured patients.
“The [Third Circuit] explained that permitting these types of claims would set a ‘dangerous’ and flawed precedent that hospitals ‘have standing to sue any company that causes a nonpaying patient’s illness,’” lawyers for the opioid makers argued in their motion to dismiss, according to Law360.
For their part, lawyers representing defendant drug distribution companies went after the foundation of the hospital’s claims against their clients, arguing that they owed West Boca Medical Center no duty to monitor and/or refuse to fulfill suspicious pharmaceutical orders. Further, they took aim at the hospital’s allegations of unjust enrichment, asserting that hospitals are required by law to provide emergency care to uninsured individuals and that there is nothing “unjust” about a hospital following federal law and suffering the financial consequences thereof.
Attorneys for defendant pharmacies echoed the arguments made on behalf of drug makers and distributors, saying the claims against them should be dismissed because the allegations against pharmacies are even weaker and more tenuous than those made against the other two groups of defendants.
The MDL involves over 800 separate cases, mostly municipalities and local government entities seeking to recover costs associated with the ongoing opioid crisis that continues to ravage communities across the nation. Though hospitals are involved in a relatively small number of these cases, the aggressiveness of the defendants’ tactics in seeking to have the case dismissed belies the fact that, should West Boca Medical Center succeed at trial, many other health care providers likely would follow suit by bringing their own claims.
The unreimbursed costs of opioid-related treatments incurred by health care providers nationwide potentially run into the billions of dollars.
Opioid Lawsuit News Update: Pharmaceuticals Seek to Avoid Liability, Blaming “Drug Dealers” in TN Case
June 13, 2018
Author: Daniel Gala
Drug makers seeking to avoid liability under a Tennessee anti-drug-dealing law have taken the unusual step of filing a third-party complaint blaming street drug dealers, dark web distributors, crooked health care providers, and even local municipalities themselves for fueling the ongoing opioid epidemic, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Mallinckrodt LLC announced on Friday, July 20, 2018.
The aggressive new tactic comes after local attorneys general across the state brought suit against opioid makers last year, seeking to hold them liable under the Tennessee Drug Dealer Liability Act. Among the allegations included in a complaint filed last year are accusations that Endo and Mallinckrodt along with other drug makers are responsible for the wave of neonatal abstinence syndrome that has swept the state. The syndrome occurs in babies born to opioid addicted mothers.
Endo and Mallinckrodt called the allegations against them “a tortured, misguided legal theory,” according to Law360, arguing that the opioid crisis instead has been the fault of “unregulated, illegal and unfortunately long-ignored actors whose sole motive is to sell illicit drugs to anyone willing to pay.”
However, the third-party complaint filed by the drug makers goes beyond blaming street drug dealers and “pill mill” doctors. It also seeks to add as defendants a number of local municipalities represented by the attorneys general bringing the original suit.
In essence, the pharmaceutical companies have asserted that the municipalities themselves are responsible for the opioid crisis that has ravaged their communities, arguing in the third-party complaint that these local governments “could have more closely monitored doctors for signs of fraudulent prescribing, reviewing prescribing data to assess the amount of opioid prescriptions being filled,” according to Law360.
An attorney representing the local attorneys general in the suit described the drug makers’ response as “reckless,” saying, “In essence, they are blaming law enforcement, civil servants and elected officials for not being able to keep up with overwhelming rates of addiction, neonatal abstinence syndrome and overdose deaths. They are blaming small, rural towns for not having enough body bags or morgue space to adequately deal with the mess they’ve created, and it’s a direct slap in the face of all those on the front lines of suffering and loss.”
Legal Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be used as medical information or diagnosis. The sources of the information presented in the article have been researched and are linked within the article. Please seek out medical advice from a licensed medical professional if you are experiencing a problem with any of the drugs or devices mentioned in this article.
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