The Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Alabama, has denied a motion by Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and McKesson Corporation to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the State of Alabama accusing the drug companies of creating and fueling an opioid epidemic. A hearing on the matter was held before Judge J. R. Gaines on Oct. 15.

Alabama filed suit against Endo, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, for its alleged aggressive and misleading marketing of opioids. The company is accused of downplaying the risks associated with its highly addictive opioids, which are “too dangerous to prescribe long term for anything less than the most dire of circumstances,” according to the complaint.

Alabama’s claims against McKesson, a pharmaceutical distributor, allege it had reckless disregard for the State and Federal Controlled Substances Act, and wreaked havoc on public health which “drained coffers by unleashing a tidal wave of addictive and deadly painkillers.” The complaint claims McKesson could have curbed the opioid crisis it helped create if it had not failed to monitor, report and stop suspicious orders.

Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, was also named in the complaint. In September, the company and the billionaire Sackler family that owned the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect themselves from more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits, including Alabama’s. As part of the agreement, the Sacklers gave up ownership of Purdue. The company will dissolve into another company, which will continue to sell OxyContin, but with profits going to the plaintiffs. Purdue will also provide free access to its overdose antidotes and addiction treatments which are currently under development. Furthermore, the Sackler family has agreed to pay $3 billion out of their own pockets. The settlement agreement is assessed at about $10 billion to $12 billion.

The ruling, issued Nov. 13, is Civil Action No. 03-CV-2019-901174.00.

Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.

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