November 2, 2017 News Release: Greene County Commissioners File Lawsuit in Response to Opioid Emergency, Department of Finance and Administration, Greene County Government, Pennsylvania

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Greene County Commissioners' Office
93 East High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5210 • Fax: 724-627-5428 •

News Release

Contact: JoAnne Marshall
Communications Director
Phone: 724-852-5210

Greene County Commissioners File Lawsuit in Response to Opioid Emergency

FOR RELEASE — November 2, 2017

WAYNESBURG, PA — The Greene County Commissioners announced today that the County has filed suit against the following pharmaceutical companies, distributors, and physicians to recoup local costs associated with the deadly opioid epidemic that is ravaging the entire country and particularly Southwestern Pennsylvania: 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 n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLC; Actavis, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; AmerisourceBergen Corporation; Russell Portenoy, M.D.; Perry Fine, M.D.; Scott Fishman, M.D.; and Lynn Webster, M.D.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of misrepresenting the risks of prescription opioid painkillers that have fueled a sky-rocketing drug addiction crisis and seeks to recover associated costs borne by the County taxpayers, including payments for eligible residents for prescription opioid pain killers which were manufactured, promoted, and sold by the defendants. Damages also include excessive costs to public healthcare services, criminal justice system, emergency medical services, law enforcement, foster care, and increased incarceration in addition to lost productivity and lost tax revenue.

The Pittsburgh law firm of Robert Peirce & Associates, working with the New York firm of Marc J. Bern and Partners, has been representing other counties across the state and was retained by the County. The Peirce law firm will pay upfront all costs of the litigation. If the suit is unsuccessful, the County will not be responsible for any costs. The attorney fees are 25% of any proceeds recovered.

The complaint indicates that the defendants knew these drugs were addictive and deliberately misled the public and medical community. The lawsuit accuses the companies and distributors of fraud, negligence, deception, creating a public nuisance, and unjust enrichment and seeks return of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and the County’s legal costs.

"Although this battle with the pharmaceutical industry will be challenging, Commissioners Dave Coder, Archie Trader and I believe that we must pursue this opportunity to recover taxpayer funded expenses,” said Commissioner Blair Zimmerman. “Simultaneously, we will be doing our part to hold these defendants accountable for their roles in opening the floodgates of deadly and costly opioid use while destroying families."

Getting the pharmaceutical industry to halt their deceptive practices and stopping them from continuing to pump these addictive drugs into our small towns and communities is critical, Zimmerman stated.

"The industry has downplayed the addictive nature of these drugs, and should be held legally and financially responsible for the consequences," he said.

For general information, please contact the Information Services
at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399
Greene County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370

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