2 counties and 2 cities in West Virginia file lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors


FILE – This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. In an innovative experiment, doctors prescribed fewer opioids after learning of their patient’s overdose death in a letter from a county medical examiner. More than 400 “Dear Doctor” letters, sent in 2017 in San […]

Pleasants County Commission, Ritchie County Commission and the cities of St. Marys and Harrisville filed a lawsuit against 34 manufacturers, distributors and individuals in an effort to recover damages for taxpayers as it relates to the opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants knew there are no long-term studies supporting the safety or efficacy of opioids for long-term use.  A press release said the defendants:

“knew the effectiveness of opioids wanes over time and requires dosage increases that markedly increase the risk of addiction and death.  Despite this knowledge, in order to realize blockbuster profit, [the d]efendants created a false narrative of safety and efficacy of opioids for medical professionals and the public.  This encouraged massive consumption of opioids for longer periods of time and for a wider range of problems—giving rise to the opioid epidemic.”

 A press release said the plaintiffs believe one of the most culpable defendants is Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which the lawsuit argues “profits from the overuse and over-prescription of opioids within West Virginia and Pleasants County and Ritchie County and has done so since 2005.  Mylan has not only profited from causing addiction, but it profits from the addiction itself by selling generic methadone and buprenorphine as well.”

WBOY reached out to Mylan Pharmaceuticals for comment and is waiting to hear back.

The plaintiffs are represented by The Mid-Ohio Valley Opioid Litigation Alliance, which consists of Kevin Harris and Eric Holmes with the Law Offices of Harris & Holmes, PLLC of Ripley, Lisa Ford of Clarksburg, Robert White of Charleston and Marc J. Bern and Joseph Cappelli with Marc J. Bern & Partners LLP of New York City.  According to a press release, attorneys expect damages to be in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in this case specifically.

You can read the lawsuit in its entirety in two documents that can be viewed here and here.

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