Board Takes Legal Action Against Opioid Manufacturers, Marketers and Distributors

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Provided by Prince William County

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On Wednesday, Prince William County filed a lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, for their role in creating the health emergency caused by the overuse of prescription opioids. The defendants include manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Abbott Laboratories, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, Inc., Barr Laboratories, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Watson Laboratories, Inc., Allergan PLC and Insys Therapeutics; distributors AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.; and PBMs Express Scripts, Inc., Caremark/CVS Health, United Health Group Inc. and OptumRx, Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that each defendant has contributed to the opioid crisis in Virginia, and specifically in Prince William County, resulting in significant adverse impacts to the delivery of emergency medical services, law enforcement services, mental health services and substance abuse services throughout the county. The county has alleged violations of statutory and common law public nuisance, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, fraud, common law conspiracy, negligence and unjust enrichment.

“We believe that the drug manufacturers, who are making the opioids, are mispresenting the truth about their benefits and addiction risks. The distributors are ignoring their responsibilities to report and stop suspicious orders; and the PBMs are using their role as middlemen to increase the flow of opioids into the marketplace,” said Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “The Board decided to move forward with legal action because it’s time to hold those responsible for these issues accountable and to try to recoup some of the expenses the taxpayers and county have paid in trying to address this ongoing crisis.” 


Prince William County is being represented by outside legal counsel Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, Kaufman & Canoles, P.C. and The Cicala Law Firm PLLC.

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