Beasley Allen has filed an opioid lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors on behalf of Chambers County, Alabama, alleging the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis. Responding to the opioid crisis has required Chambers County to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. Chambers County is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, and Ryan Kral, along with Claud E. (Skip) McCoy, Jr., of Johnson, Caldwell & McCoy in Lanett, Alabama.
Beasley Allen has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of the City of Greenville, Houston County, Barbour County, Limestone County, City of Anniston, City of Evergreen, City of Georgiana, the City of Abbeville, the Town of McKenzie, and the Town of Yellow Bluff, Alabama, as well as Sumner County, Tennessee. The firm also is representing the State of Alabama in its opioid lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
“The opioid crisis has taken our country by storm and we will no longer turn a blind eye to the pharmaceutical companies’ actions that created the crisis,” Jones said. “In addition to its huge toll on human life, the opioid epidemic has an economic cost of about $504 billion annually to communities throughout the country. This is a tremendous strain on Chambers County’s resources.”
“Local communities have been ground zero for the devastation caused by the opioid epidemic,” McCoy, Jr. said. “It is apparent that the number of families destroyed by the drugmakers’ pills, or the number of lives snuffed out too soon, or the astronomical strain put on our local resources, never bothered pharmaceutical executives. But now, it is time for them to pay the consequences for the mess they created in Chambers County and across many other communities in our great nation.”
Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care, and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.
In 2016, Chambers County had an opioid prescription rate of 140.6 for every 100 people, among counties with the highest prescription rates in the state. Four Alabama cities rank in the Top 15 in the nation with the highest rates of opioid abuse – Gadsden, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. Nationally, opioids are responsible for killing more than 183,000 people since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2016 alone, 42,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdoses.
Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.
The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Eastern Division.