Montgomery Pursuing Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers

In an effort to combat the Montgomery County’s growing opioid crisis, County Executive Ike Leggett announced Tuesday that the county was pursuing legal action against manufacturers and distributors of addictive painkillers.

“As we continue to respond as a county to the critical needs created by this epidemic, I wanted to do more, and by today’s action, we are doing more,” Leggett said at a press conference inside the Executive Office Building.

Although the suit would try to recoup the costs the county has incurred fighting overdoses, Leggett said he also wanted to force manufacturers to “cease and desist” the way opioid painkillers are marketed.

He describes that in this video:

The firm that will bring the suit is the San Francisco-based Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd; the Montgomery County Council approved their representation Tuesday.

County attorney Marc Hansen said Robbins Geller would not charge the county the costs of bringing the suit, and if there’s no recovery, the firm isn’t paid.

Aelish M. Baig, an attorney with Robbins Geller said the company’s investigation should be complete in a few weeks, and the suit would be filed shortly after the start of the year. The firm was considering both state and federal courts, she said.

“Many of these are privately held companies they don’t have the same kind of accountability that a lot of other companies do. So we use the legal system in order to bring some accountability,” Council President Hans Riemer said.

Baig said companies would be held accountable for false marketing and failure to report suspicious sales, as required by law.

“Even for approved drugs, defendants have made misleading statements to the public and to prescribers as about the safety, the efficacy and the dangers of these drugs,” she said.

Communities in Michigan and Florida have retained Robbins Geller to sue on their behalf. Baig said the litigation is in early stages.

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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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