Beasley Allen has filed its first lawsuit in Tennessee against Big Pharma opioid manufacturers and distributors. The complaint, filed on behalf of Sumner County, Tennessee, 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 Sumner County to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. Sumner 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.
The complaint alleges that the citizens of this county and many others around this state and country are suffering due to the intentional actions of opioid manufacturers. These large corporations have pocketed profits at the public’s expense. They intentionally misrepresented the risks of opioids to both doctors and the public not thinking they would ever have to answer for their false, deceptive and unlawful practices.
In December, Beasley Allen filed two similar opioid lawsuits on behalf of the City of Greenville, Alabama, and Houston County, Alabama. Last week, it also filed a third opioid lawsuit, this time on behalf of Barbour County, Alabama.
Local municipalities are struggling to compensate for the economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic, which includes 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, there were 199,327 opioid prescriptions written in Sumner County, which is more than the 176,000 people who reside there. In 2015, 75 percent of drug overdose deaths in the county involved an opioid, which was twice as high as in 2014. There were additional costs to address and mitigate opioid abuse and addiction for nonfatal drug overdoses. In 2015, 65 of the 376 nonfatal drug overdose patients that required an outpatient visit in Sumner County involved an opioid or heroin. During the same year, 61 of the 247 nonfatal drug overdose cases where patients required inpatient medical services involved an opioid or heroin.
The complaint notes that aside from the senseless harm people have suffered, taxpayers were left holding the bag for the irresponsible and fraudulent actions of pharmaceutical companies. It says plaintiffs must demand more from companies that rely on consumer trust and hold them accountable when they fall short.
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, Middle District of Tennessee, case number 3:18-mc-09999.