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Summit County lawsuit alleges pharma companies pushed dangerous opioids to make a profit

COALVILLE — In order to make extra money, pharmaceutical companies pushed dangerous, extended opioid use on sufferers with persistent ache, regardless of realizing the hazards for lowered potency and greater dependancy.

Meanwhile, native governments and repair suppliers, like the ones in Summit County, had been pressured with the results of a national epidemic of drug abuse.

That is the argument at the back of a huge lawsuit filed in third District Court on Tuesday as Summit County was the primary county within the state to sue producers and vendors of opioids over the associated fee and carnage of dependancy amongst its electorate.

The lawsuit names as defendants 25 folks and companies from 9 primary pharmaceutical companies: Purdue Pharma L.P., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allergan, Teva, Cephalon, Janssen, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

“This case is about one thing: corporate greed. Defendants put their desire for profits above the health, well-being and safety of Summit County residents,” the 245-page lawsuit starts.

It is going on to argue that “Summit County has been forced to expend exorbitant amounts of money” preventing the “opioid epidemic” that the companies created via misleading advertising and marketing to the general public and deceptive gross sales ways towards docs, together with native physicians, providing up opioids to deal with not unusual aches and pains.

“Defendants, through a sophisticated and highly deceptive and unfair marketing campaign that began in the late 1990s, deepened around 2006, and continues to the present, set out to, and did, reverse the popular and medical understanding of opioids. Chronic opioid therapy — the prescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain long term — is now commonplace,” the lawsuit states.

The marketing campaign was once “wildly successful,” in accordance to the declare, bringing in billions of greenbacks in earnings each and every yr.

Summit County’s lawsuit seeks a jury trial and an unspecified monetary award “sufficient to fairly and completely compensate plaintiff for all damages,” in addition to an injunction ordering the companies to “abate the public nuisance they created.”

Summit County Attorney Margaret Olsen introduced the lawsuit Tuesday in a press convention on the ancient courthouse in Coalville, positioned on the county seat, pronouncing the litigation comes along side a “comprehensive public health plan” to deal with opioid dependancy within the space.

In a ready unlock prior to the announcement, Olsen emphasised that pharmaceutical companies will have to be held financially liable for the price of the disaster. Those prices through the years have incorporated affects on households like kid overlook, babies born with drug dependence, estrangement of relations, misplaced careers or legal fees, in accordance to the discharge.

In addition to its personal lawyers, Summit County has introduced on personal recommend from regulation companies Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, of New York City, and Dewsnup King Olsen Worel Havas & Mortensen, and Magleby Cataxinos & Greenwood, either one of Salt Lake City. The lawyers are operating on a contingency, which means they might most effective be paid from any damages the county receives if the lawsuit is a success.

“We are advancing all the costs to pursue this lawsuit,” mentioned Collin King, some of the lawyers from Dewsnup King Olsen Worel Havas & Mortensen. “It is a risk we think is worthwhile to take.”

King emphasised that Utah is now 7th within the country for drug overdose occasions and deaths.

“Utah has seen a 400 percent increase in deaths from prescription opioids over the past five years,” King mentioned. “It is a scourge, it is an epidemic, and we intend to do something about it.”

Prescription abuse incessantly leads to dependancy to unlawful narcotics, King mentioned, noting that the opioid disaster has fueled a resurgence of heroin use.

Among probably the most stunning opioid-related deaths from Summit County have been the deadly overdoses of 2 13-year-old pals, Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver, who each died over the similar weekend after the usage of a artificial opioid U-47700, nicknamed “Pink.” The pals had ordered the drug on-line from China.

“A lot of these drug-seeking behaviors are driven by addiction, and that causes people to go to places like the mail to try to get drugs when they can’t get them from other places,” Olson mentioned.

Regarding the younger boys’ deaths, King mentioned damages from the lawsuit would cross to remedy and schooling services and products, together with for college kids within the county.

King famous that Napoli Shkolnik is among the main regulation companies taking over opioid linked litigation within the nation, representing greater than 100 counties around the U.S. He expressed his hope that different counties in Utah will sign up for Summit County in taking criminal motion, and that their mixed efforts will in the end make a distinction.

“Every county is having a different rate of incidents, but they are all unacceptably high,” King mentioned. “We hope that most every county in Utah joins into this to tell big pharma that Utah takes this serious, and every citizen here wants it stopped.”


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In a press convention closing November, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill introduced their intent to sue giant pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic ravaging the realm.

Gill showed Tuesday that, as the biggest county within the state, Salt Lake remains to be in moderation making ready its case.

“We are fully committed to this objective, as we have been from the beginning to advocate for our citizens and agencies from the negative consequences of this opioid epidemic,” Gill mentioned.

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