Leggett Announces County Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

Montgomery County has filed its suit against opioid manufacturers, an effort to get the pharmaceutical companies to change how they market the painkillers and report suspicious sales.

“To understand the magnitude of our challenge, all you have to do is simply ask our first responders, fire and rescue and police, ask our front-line personnel in health and human services,” County Executive Leggett said at a news conference Wednesday.

“The response will certainly be the same: death, addiction, broken families, shattered lives,” he said. “It is critical that we hold responsible the manufacturers and distributors whose negligent actions significantly contributed to the crisis, for what happened in the past, what is happening in the present and what will likely happen in the future.”

Here is Leggett and attorney Mark Dearman of the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd:

The 163-page suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. The case is likely to be combined with others across the country in U.S. District Court in Cleveland and be heard by Judge Dan Polster, Dearman said. His Boca Raton, Florida, firm is working on a contingency basis, meaning they aren’t paid unless the suit wins damages.

The companies named in the suit are:

  • Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, Connecticut;
  • Cephalon Inc. of Frazer, Pennsylvania;
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. of Israel
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. of North Wales, Pennsylvania;
  • Endo International PLC of Ireland
  • Endo Health Solutions Inc. of Malvern, Pennsylvania;
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Malvern, Pennsylvania;
  • Jansen Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Raritan, New Jersey;
  • Insys Therapeutics Inc. of Chandler, Arizona;
  • Mallinckrodt PLC of the United Kingdom
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals of St. Louis, Missouri;
  • AmerisourceBergen Corp. of Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania;
  • Cardinal Health Inc. of Dublin, Ohio; and
  • McKesson Corp. of San Francisco, California.

According to the suit, 64,000 people died from lethal drug overdoses, more than the number of U.S. soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.

At the news conference, several members of Surviving Our Ultimate Loss, or SOUL, attended. Among them were Helene Najar, whose daughter Kelly O’Connor died from a 2016 overdose. Najar said her daughter, who would have turned 30 recently, had been prescribed opioid painkillers, which led to an OxyContin addiction. The woman then turned to a fatal mixture of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.

Here is Najar describing her daughter:

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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