Archive for opioid epidemic lawsuit

Washington Counties Must Step up if They Want Funds to Combat Opioids

The Washington State Attorney General and a Skagit County Commissioner have written an editorial in which they state that Washington has the opportunity to finally do something about the opioid crisis – but all the counties in the state need to sign on to the agreement if they want all the funds they were supposed to get.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki wrote the editorial for the Seattle Times, stating that the state might not receive the full amount of funds promised from a settlement that resulted from a lawsuit against the Big Three opioid distributors by Ferguson’s office. They note that to get all of the money, all Washington counties and every city with a population over 10,000 people have to agree to the settlement by September 23. If they do, then the state will receive hundreds of millions of dollars starting in December.

Ferguson and Janicki say that the funds will be used for more treatment, as well as more support for both those affected by the opioid epidemic and for the first responders who have to handle things like overdose cases. The money can also go toward developing new programs and developing ways to prevent youth from trying opioids. Ferguson and Janicki are quick to point out this includes combating fentanyl and the problems it’s been causing in the state.

Back in November 2021, Ferguson’s office decided to reject a national settlement offered by three opioid manufacturers and instead take the three to court. This resulted in a resolution-in-principle that gives the state not only part of the settlement but also an additional $46 million. Ferguson’s office tried a similar tactic regarding a bankruptcy plan from Purdue and also got more money for the state to use toward tackling the opioid epidemic.

In the editorial, Ferguson and Janicki acknowledge that money won’t bring back the lives lost to opioids, including that of Janicki’s own son. But the money can help prevent more lives from being lost. Washington counties and cities are urged to sign on to the resolution by the deadline.

Tennessee State Attorney General Sues Walgreens Over Opioids

The attorney general’s office in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, claiming the drugstore chain did nothing to stop the abuse of opioids it dispensed, which in turn added to the prescription painkiller addiction crisis in the state. According to the lawsuit, Walgreen’s lack of controls and detection violated the state’s consumer protection act.

The suit alleges that for 14 years, Walgreens pharmacies dispensed oxycodone and hydrocodone pills without doing anything to stop the potential abuse of these medications. The pharmacies were said to have dispensed over 1.1 billion of these pills, with some locations dispensing so many pills that every single person in the town would have had to be taking the medications for the numbers to make sense.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III claimed in a statement that this was not accidental and that Walgreens ignored clear signs that the drugs were potentially being abused. Walgreens is accused of not giving its pharmacists training in spotting signs of medication abuse and that the locations in Tennessee were actually dispensing opioids to people from several states. In turn, Walgreens released a statement noting that they had not made the pills or given them to prescribing doctors, who were, at the heart of the opioid crisis.

In one example, according to the lawsuit, one doctor in one Tennessee city prescribed over 100,000 pills in less than a year, with about 20 percent of the prescriptions written for patients from outside Tennessee, and Walgreens filled all of these without any alarm bells going off. Walgreens is also accused of filling opioid prescriptions written for children, including toddlers over 2 years old, and prescriptions for dosages well above the normal maximum dose.

The lawsuit is just one of thousands filed by governments and other agencies as a result of an addiction and overdose crisis that has killed over half a million Americans over the past 20 years. Pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma and drug distributors like AmerisourceBergen have formed the bulk of the defendants in these cases, usually settling for billions of dollars.

Ohio Counties Benefiting From $20.4M Opioid Settlement

The recent cleanup and attention on healthier communities are much more progressive with involvement from a drug manufacturer. The progress in addressing a community issue is part of the efforts to improve a sporadic health challenge nationally. While avoiding a federal civil trial, Johnson and Johnson will pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $20.4M to help fight the opioid epidemic. Before the settlement, this was seen as a non-issue by many Americans. With this agreement, the drug manufacturer will pay the counties $10 million in cash, cover $5 million for the localities legal expenses and donate $5.4 million to the area’s local nonprofit groups fighting the opioid epidemic.

Avoiding an expensive federal civil trial is one of the reasons the pharmaceutical giant has reached this settlement. Both Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals can avoid liability with this settlement. This allows the company to avoid some of the demands for resources and uncertainty of a trial. Helping to address the nation’s opioid crisis is making progress as the company is now working in a collaborative way to help people in need. The efforts are focusing on having the healthiest communities and the cooperation is nice for the two Ohio counties. The collaboration between counties might also provide innovative community solutions to benefit many others. The avoidance of Opioid issues is also helpful for states around Ohio and throughout the nation. Serving the constituents of the areas with these types of solutions are also hopeful as nation-wide remedies at some point.

There are more than 2,500 counties, cities and others involved with the numerous lawsuits. The complaint blamed nearly two dozen drug manufacturers, pharmacies, and distributors for being a part of triggering the opioid epidemic with prescriptions for pain medication that were considered highly addictive. The efforts on a state basis are also including Oklahoma with a court order for the company to pay $572 million for being a part of the opioid epidemic in that state. Although the company is appealing this ruling, the current focus on state repairs for the epidemic are supporting healthy communities with nonprofit involvement. Supporters see that the spending allocations and commitments to work towards solutions are helpful on a nation-wide basis.

Swinomish Files Lawsuit Against Big Pharmaceutical Company For Perpetuating Opioid Crisis

Big Pharmacy is no stranger to lawsuits and this time they’re in a bind against not only an individual but an entire tribe. The Swinomish Native American tribe in Washington has filed a lawsuit against huge pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson and Johnson. Purdue Pharma is on the prime manufacturers of the deadly and addictive drug, Oxycontin. The Swinomish tribal community claims that the companies used false and misleading advertising techniques that “fueled the opioid epidemic and results in death and devastation to Swinomish families.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Native Americans and Alaska Natives dying from opioid overdoes skyrocketed four-fold between 1999 and 2013. By 2014, Native Americans had the highest death rate from opioid overdoes out of any other ethnic group in the country. The lawsuit attributes this increase and epidemic to the pharmaceutical companies. Further, the lawsuit states that the opioid epidemic affects the tribe culturally and economically and deceptive companies must be held accountable.

Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby, the former president of the National Congress of American Indians says of the lawsuit: “We have been holding funerals while these companies reap record profits. It is time they are held accountable for the destruction they’ve caused in the Swinomish community.”

Purdue Pharmaceutical attempted to dismiss the Swinomish lawsuit but a King County Superior Court judge shut them down. Purdue also tried to counter lawsuits in South Carolina and Oklahoma and was not allowed.

For short-time rehabilitation to currently struggling opioid addicts, The Swinomish tribe established its own opioid dependency treatment center called The Didg’alic Wellness Center. “Didg’alic” is a Lushootseed word that translates roughly to “place where camas was dug” Camas is both a flower and food staples amongst Native American culture. This wellness center has been the Swinomish tribe’s way of taking back control in the out-of-control opioid crisis brought on by Big Pharma, but they feel the lawsuit will bring further justice.

Cladoosby sums up: “It’s very important for the companies to understand we feel they created a plague in the United States, and we don’t feel they’re doing enough to address it.”