Beasley Allen has filed an opioid lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors on behalf of the Town of McKenzie, Alabama. The lawsuit 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 town to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. The Town of McKenzie 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 P. Richard Hartley of Hartley & Hickman law firm in Greenville, 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 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.
“Big Pharma created this crisis, which clearly put its interests in profit ahead of concerns for public safety,” Jones said. “They downplayed the risks of these drugs. Even when opioids are prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, their high propensity for addiction often leads to their abuse. The pharmaceutical industry should answer for this epidemic.”
“The number of people affected by the opioid crisis in the Town of McKenzie is staggering,” Hartley said. “Responding to emergencies stemming from opioid abuse, overdose and death, as well as crime and neglect resulting from the problem, is a huge strain on resources, leaving the town struggling to provide for its citizens.”
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.
The Town of McKenzie spans both Butler and Conecuh counties in Alabama. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, Butler County had an opioid prescribing rate of 135.4 for every 100 people – more than one prescription for every person in the county. Conecuh County was only slightly better, with a prescribing rate of 93.9 per every 100 people. Four Alabama cities rank in the Top 15 places in the country 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 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 Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division.