STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — The County of San Bernardino is suing over a dozen pharmaceutical companies and drug retailers, alleging they have contributed to the opioid epidemic in the region and across the country, and that they have knowingly done little to prevent a furtherance of the crisis.
In a Thursday press release, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors said it was suing drug companies Purdue and Johnson & Johnson, among others, and pharmacies like RiteAid, CVS and Walgreens.
“With this lawsuit, our county joins hundreds of counties across the United States in an important effort to hold these companies responsible for their role in creating the opioid epidemic,” board Chairman Robert Lovingood said in the statement.
The lawsuit accuses the companies of seeking “to create a false perception in the minds of physicians, patients, health care providers and everyone who pays for health care that using opioids to treat chronic pain was safe for most patients and that the drugs’ benefits outweighed the risks.”
It also alleges the companies have the ability to track and flag “suspiciously large surges” in opioid prescriptions but have failed to do so.
There were at least 35 opiate-related deaths in the county in 2017, in addition to 259 opioid overdose hospital visits not related to heroin and 179 hospitalizations, the statement read.
The county is working with the law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy of El Segundo to pursue the lawsuit. According to the statement, the firm has been in similar litigation on behalf of over 200 cities across the United States.
The firm Crueger Dickinson is also a co-counsel.
Below are the companies listed as defendants:
- Johnson & Johnson
- CVS Health Corporation
- The Kroger Co.
- Wal-Mart Inc.
- Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company Inc.
- Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.,
- Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc.
- Noramco Inc.
- Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
- Cephalon Inc.
- Allergan PLC
- Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Watson Laboratories Inc., Actavis LLC, Actavis Pharma Inc.
- Insys Therapeutics Inc.
- Mallinckrodt PLC, Mallinckrodt LLC
- Cardinal Health Inc.
- McKesson Corporation
- AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation
- H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co.
- Miami-Luken Inc.