August 16, 2018
Lawsuit targets firms responsible for opioid epidemic
SAN BERNARDINO (INT) San Bernardino County filed a lawsuit Thursday against several pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and pharmacies over the aggressive and fraudulent marketing of prescription opioid painkillers and distribution practices that have led to a drug epidemic in the county and throughout the nation.

In 2017, at least 35 people died in San Bernardino County from opiate overdoses. There were at least 259 non-heroin opioid overdose emergency department visits in the county and 179 opioid overdose hospitalizations.

"The county and our residents are being severely affected by the opioid crisis," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood. "With this lawsuit, our county joins hundreds of counties across the United States in an important effort to hold these companies responsible for their role in creating the opioid epidemic."

In the complaint, the county seeks relief for the cost to the county to combat the public nuisance created by the drug companies' deceptive marketing campaign that misrepresents the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the crisis has been fueled and sustained by those involved in the supply chain of opioids, including manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies, who have failed to maintain effective controls over the distribution of prescription opioids, and who instead have actively sought to evade such controls.

The defendants in the lawsuit include Johnson & Johnson, CVS Health Corporation, the Kroger Co., RiteAid of Maryland Inc. d/b/a RiteAid Mid-Atlantic Customer Support Center Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. a/k/a Walgreen Co., Wal-Mart Inc. f/k/a Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Noramco Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Cephalon Inc., Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLC, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. n/k/a Actavis Inc., Watson Laboratories Inc., Actavis LLC, Actavis Pharma Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma Inc., Insys Therapeutics Inc., Mallinckrodt PLC, Mallinckrodt LLC, Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co., and Miami-Luken Inc.
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