28 Wisconsin Counties Hit Big Pharma With Separate Lawsuits

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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More than two dozen counties in Wisconsin are going after pharmaceutical companies in an attempt to hold the drug makers accountable for the public cost of the opioid epidemic.

Twenty-eight counties in the state filed separate lawsuits in eastern federal district court in Wisconsin Tuesday that accuse top drug makers, their subsidiaries and several doctors of fraudulent marketing of opioids painkillers. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages from the companies for the millions of dollars spent by localities to combat opioid addiction, reports the Journal Sentinel.

Officials from these counties say their communities are suffering under the financial toll of the drug crisis, which is impacting emergency services, law enforcement, hospitals and social services. The lawsuits allege drug makers created a public nuisance through their fraudulent advertising of opioid painkillers that led to the current overdose crisis.

“County governments are bearing the brunt of the costs of this crisis,” Erin Dickinson of Crueger Dickinson LLC, who is part of the legal effort in Wisconsin, said Tuesday, according to the Journal Sentinel. “Defendants must be held responsible for the devastating effects their actions have produced on counties across this country.”

The lawsuits target Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions, along with their subsidiaries and three doctors from Utah and California. Lawsuits are mounting against the largest drug makers in the country for their alleged complicity in sparking the opioid crisis through dishonest advertising.

The pharmaceutical companies deny wrongdoing and say they are committed to working with the government to solve the opioid epidemic.

“We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution,” a company spokesman previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation in response to a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of New Jersey.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency” Oct. 26, giving states hit hard by opioid addiction flexibility on how they direct federal resources to combat rising drug deaths.

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