Media, PA – Delaware County announced that it has filed suit against opioid manufacturers Thursday.
Delaware County, Pennsylvania’s fifth largest county, declared war on opioid addiction by becoming the first county in the state to sue for damages against 11 major drug suppliers of opioids and their consulting physicians, who have for decades conspired to deceitfully promote and market “the benefits of using opioids to treat chronic pain”.
(Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, Docket No. 17-8095)
“Today we are sending a message to the big pharma companies named in this lawsuit that Delaware County will not tolerate their well-documented, abusive opioid sales and marketing tactics that are systematically turning patients – including our fellow citizens – into addicts and then fatalities,” said Dave White, County Councilman and co-chair of the county’s Heroin Task Force.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, who co-chairs the Heroin Task Force, added, “We will fight this national epidemic of senseless death and destruction with civil litigation, and that is why the top makers of prescription pain-killer opioids are named as defendants, along with the doctors who helped them unleash their outrageous, illegal business practices that put profits – calculated in the billions – over public safety.”
Trial attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, whose firm will lead the plaintiff’s legal team, stated, “We are honored to represent Delaware County as it undertakes this courageous litigation to hold the suppliers of deadly opioids responsible for their conduct, and hold them accountable in the monetary terms they completely understand. Money motivates their every deceitful action and we plan to demonstrate at trial that their actions have been cold and calculated, and we will hold them accountable to appropriately compensate Delaware County – on behalf of its citizens – for the harm they’ve inflicted and continue to inflict through their business practices.”
Councilman White stated, “We were the first county to recognize the need to equip police and first responders with Narcan and that action saved and is saving lives. But this lawsuit demonstrates that we have to get to the source, and that doesn’t just mean the street dealer, but the big suppliers of opioids that have either skirted the law or thumbed their noses at multi-million-dollar fines. Enough is enough. Unlike those companies, the county does not have deep pockets, and we recognize that our costs – including rehabilitation services – is skyrocketing.”
So far 2017, Delaware County has had 167 drug-related deaths, with 145 of those deaths being opioid-related. The CDC estimates that 89 people die every day from an opioid-related overdose in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is among the highest incidence areas for opioid-related abuse and overdose.
The defendants (including the three physicians that are referred to as Known Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in the lawsuit, are: Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Dr. Perry Fine; Dr. Scott Fishman and Dr. Lynn Webster.