Oroville, Calif.—Butte County is joining the national fight against the opioid crisis.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board approved an agreement with the national law firm of Baron & Budd to initiate litigation against manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic.
The county is joining more than 300 cities and counties that have initiated litigation.
Baron & Budd are representing 80% of the municipalities that have filed suit against pharmaceutical distributors for opioid-related claims.
The agreement with Baron & Budd is funded solely from recovered funds if any and would only be paid if and when litigation was successful.
Butte County is joining with 30 California counties to take a stand for communities that represent approximately 10.5 million California residents.
According to Butte County counsel, the county seeks to recover taxpayer funds used to respond to the opioid epidemic in the community.
Officials have developed evidence that many of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, deliberately misinforming doctors by claiming that patients using the drugs barely experience addiction.
The expected manufacturer Defendants include Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd. (which acquired pharmaceutical maker Cephalon, Inc. in 2011); 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 consortium will also seek recovery from three of the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – which failed to monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
John Parker, senior vice president of Health Care Distribution Alliance, the national trade association representing distributors, including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, made this statement regarding the lawsuit.
“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids is a complex public health challenge that requires a collaborative and systemic response that engages all stakeholders. Given our role, the idea that distributors are responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and is regulated. Those bringing lawsuits would be better served addressing the root causes, rather than trying to redirect blame through litigation.”