30 California counties are suing pharmaceutical companies for not disclosing key information about the opioids they produce and how destructive opioid use can be.
The lawsuits filed by Baron and Budd go after manufacturers, claiming their misinformation downplayed how addictive opioids can be and distributors for failing to report, monitor and identify suspicious opioid shipments to pharmacies.
The firm is also representing the cities of Louisville, Cincinnati, and Birmingham, among other counties and municipalities, in litigation against opioid distributors, in response to the crisis of opioid addiction.
The 30 Counties have organized through the California Opioid Consortium and represent the interests of approximately 10.5 million California residents.
Each of the 30 counties are filing suit in federal court and expect their cases to be transferred into the Multi-District Litigation, which is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of the Northern District of Ohio.
To date, more than 500 public entities have filed similar suits around the country.
The California Opioid Consortium and its counsel say they have developed evidence that many of the nation’s largest drug manufactures misinformed doctors about the addictiveness and efficacy of opioids.
The manufacturer defendants include Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; and Mallinckrodt. Drugs manufactured by these companies include, but are not limited to: OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco.
The lawsuits also name the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – alleging that the companies failed to monitor, identify and report “suspicious” opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Some suits also name other large national distributors and retailers.
The legal team representing the counties includes the law firms of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Powell & Majestro; Greene Ketchum Bailey Farrell & Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; and McHugh Fuller Law Group.
The firms currently represent more than 300 cities and counties throughout the United States for opioid-related claims. Baron & Budd serves as lead counsel to approximately 80 percent of the municipalities that have filed suit against pharmaceutical distributors for opioid-related cases.