Fentress Files Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers

On March 27, 2018, Fentress County officially filed suit against some of the largest pharmeceutical companies in the United States, joining hundreds of counties and municipalities across the country in a effort to stem the tide of illegal prescription drug abuse.

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

In recent months several government entities up and down the nation have filed lawsuits against many of the country’s largest drug manufacturers, claiming that these companies, through negligence, negligent misrepresentation, consumer protection violations, fraud, and fraudulent misrepresentation, have been complicit in allowing, or at least did nothing to ebb the flow of prescription drugs into the illegal market.

Fentress County has decided that it, too, has  suffered immensely as a result of the seemingly unrestricted flow of opioid drugs. The case, filed  as Fentress County v. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation et al, lists several of the largest drug manufacturers in the United States. The list of defendants included such companies as Cardinal Health, Inc., Purdue Pharma L.P., Teva Pharmeceuticals USA,  Inc., Cephalon, Inc., Johnson  & Johnson, Noramco, Inc., Watson Laboratories, Inc., Allergan, and others.   The official complaint, filed Tuesday, March 27, states that Fentress County has sustained damages including:

(1) costs for providing medical care, additional therapeutic, and prescription drug purchases, and other treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths;

(2) costs for providing treatment, counseling, and rehabilitation services;

(3) costs for providing treatment of infants born with opioid-related medical conditions;

(4) costs associated with law enforcement and public safety relating to the opioid epidemic; and

(5) costs associated with providing care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

As a result, Fentress County is seeking relief from the undue financial burden placed upon it by the national opiod crisis, and by the unethical methods of manufacture and sale of opioid drugs by the aforementioned companies.

Citing information from the CDC  (Centers for Disease Control) the complaint states that the opioid epidemic is particularly devastating in Fentress County. In 2016 the rate at which opioids were prescribed in Fentress County was nearly three times the national average (66.5), with 178.1 opioid prescriptions dispensed for every 100 people in Fentress County. Prescription rates for prior years in Fentress County were even higher, with 182.6 prescriptions per 100 people in 2015, 175.3 in 2014, and 230.9 in 2013.

By taking this legal action, Fentress County is not only seeking financial relief from this crisis, but the means to abate the crisis as well through potential changes in the way the manufacturers and distributors of opioids market their product to physicians and patients. It has been commonplace for the representatives of these companies to downplay the addictive properties of opioids when used to treat chronic pain. These methods have been immensely successful, as currently opioids are the most prescribed class of drugs in the United States.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.