Nevada targets 40 pharmaceutical companies in expanded opioid lawsuit
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford on Monday filed an expanded complaint against some 40 pharmaceutical companies and executives, blaming them for the opioid crisis.
The suit charges the manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and individuals “created an ecosystem of addiction with deadly consequences to the state and its residents for their own profit.”
“Through a systematic marketing campaign, sham medical organizations, funded experts and other shameful tactics, the defendants peddled false science designed to demonstrate that opioids were a safe, non-addictive treatment for pain,” he said. “Even when opioid deaths skyrocketed, the defendants simply redesigned their marketing campaign to continue to reap profits at the expense of Nevadans.”
The result, he said, is an unprecedented public health crisis with numerous overdose deaths. He was joined by numerous officials from across the state.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said they must act now to help those who have become addicted.
“Here in Nevada, inside all of our large and small communities, we witness the horrific losses every day,” Furlong said.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said the resulting crisis, “has taken lives and destroyed families on an unprecedented scale and those at fault must answer for it.”
“Like many communities across America, Douglas County has been tragically impacted by the growth of prescription opioid abuse,” added Douglas County Manager Patrick Cates.
The expanded complaint charges those companies and individuals with racketeering, deceptive trade practices and false claims.
Manufacturer defendants include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Actavis Pharma, Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family which controlled Purdue Pharma, SpecGX LLC, Mallinckrodt LLC, as well as well as their executives to hide assets and evade liability. Distributor defendants include McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health LLCs, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Walgreen Co., Walmart Inc. and CVS Pharmacy, as well as top executives of Insys Therapeutics, and various entities created by manufacturers and their executives to hide assets and evade liability.
The complaint says the Centers for Disease Control recently estimated opioid misuse costs the U.S. more than $78 billion a year. In Nevada alone, it charges, defendants “had flooded the state with enough opioid prescriptions to cause overdoses by 87 percent of Nevadans.”
The 250-page complaint was filed in Clark County District Court by the Las Vegas law firm of Eglet Adams seeking to eliminate the danger to public health caused by opioids and to recover civil damages from all those involved from manufacturers to retailers.
Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada said his organization is “very concerned about disruptions to the supply chain.”