Beasley Allen has filed an opioid lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors on behalf of St. Clair 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 St. Clair County to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. St. Clair County is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Ryan Kral and Jeff Price along with Kendrick E. Webb of Webb & Eley, P.C, and James E. Hill of Hill, Hill & Gossett, P.C.
Beasley Allen has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of a larger number of Alabama municipalities and counties, as well as governmental entities in other states including Tennessee and Georgia. The firm also is representing the State of Alabama in its opioid lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
“The opioid crisis was one that did not have to happen, but because of opioid makers and distributors, the crisis has reached epidemic proportions,” Jones said. “While these medications provide important pain relief for many, drug companies significantly exaggerated their benefit and willfully downplayed their highly addictive nature. The outcome created conditions ripe for abuse and local governments, like St. Clair County, were left holding the bag to the tune of more than $500 billion nationwide. It is time for these companies to answer for their deceit and disregard for human life.”
“Pharmaceutical companies have destroyed lives and torn apart families, including many in St. Clair County,” Webb said. “The human toll is overwhelming, but the crisis doesn’t stop with the individual or the family, it affects the entire community. Skyrocketing health care and addiction treatment costs, criminal justice involvement, and even lost productivity, has laid waste to local resources and economies. For St. Clair County to recover from such devastation, we must hold those companies accountable.”
“The devastation caused by an industry-created opioid crisis has been described in countless ways, and sadly, many of us have personal accounts of its impact,” Hill said. “We demand a higher standard of companies operating on the open market in our country and when they fail to meet that standard, we demand accountability. It is time for opioid makers and distributors that caused this crisis to answer for the tragedies they unleashed on our communities, residents, families and friends.”
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, St. Clair County had an opioid prescription rate of 114.4 for every 100 people. Four Alabama cities rank in the Top 15 in the nation with the highest rates of opioid abuse – Anniston, 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.