Beasley Allen has filed its fifth lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors on behalf of an Alabama city or county government. The complaint, filed on behalf of the City of Anniston, Alabama, alleges 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 the city to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. The City of Anniston 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 Bruce Downey of The Downey Law Firm in Anniston.
Beasley Allen has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of the City of Greenville, Houston County, Barbour County, and Limestone County, Alabama, as well as Sumner County, Tennessee. The firm also is representing the State of Alabama in its opioid lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
“The problem of opioid addiction has become a national 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. Alabama has four cities in the top 15 in the nation with the highest rates of opioid abuse, including Anniston. This is a tremendous strain on city resources.”
“This crisis was created by the pharmaceutical industry, which clearly put its interests in profit ahead of concerns for public safety,” Downey said. “They misled doctors and the public about the serious risks associated with these drugs, especially the risk of addiction. As a result, communities are left struggling to cope with the consequences.”
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 addition to Anniston, three other 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 Pharm a, 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 Northern District of Alabama.