Vanderburgh Co. Commission files lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

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The Vanderburgh County Commission filed a lawsuit on Friday on behalf of the county government against opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging that they fueled the opioid crisis.

At one point, according to Vanderburgh County officials, the prescription rate for opioid pain medications was 183 prescriptions per 100 residents in Vanderburgh County.

“Over 70 people died from drug overdoses in Vanderburgh County in 2017 and we are seeing the same trend this year”, stated Vanderburgh County Commissioner President Bruce Ungethiem. “Vanderburgh County has suffered damages as a result of the opioid crisis and by joining in the lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids is a way to change the marketing practices of the pharma companies reducing the amount of prescription opioids on the street in the future and to try recoup some of the cost Vanderburgh County has incurred”, Ungethiem said. 

The manufacturing companies listed in the lawsuit include Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Noramco, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt PLC, Allergen PLC, and Watson Pharmaceuticals.

The lawsuit alleges these manufacturers deceptively marketed the appropriate uses, risks, and safety of opioids.

Opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal health, and McKesson Corporation are also in the lawsuit.

The commissioners allege these distributors failed in their duty to report and stop suspicious orders of opioids that flooded Vanderburgh County.

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

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(This story was originally published April 6, 2018)

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