Williamson County, Tennessee announced on Wednesday that it filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee against several of the country’s drug manufacturers and distributors.
The lawsuit holds five of the largest manufacturers of prescription opioids and their related companies, and the country’s three largest wholesale drug distributors, accountable for failing to do what they were charged with under the federal Controlled Substances Act: monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies and hospitals, according to a statement on behalf of the county by its counsel, the Franklin law firm Buerger, Moseley and Carson.
“The residents of Williamson County and Tennessee continue to bear the burden of the cost of the epidemic, as the costs of treatment for addiction, education and law enforcement have continued to rise,” the release stated.
A number of companies are named as defendants in the suit, including Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corporation, Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 1,631 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses in 2016, the highest annual number of such deaths recorded in state
history and a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Based on the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6 opioid prescriptions were dispensed for every 10 residents of Williamson County in 2016.
Williamson County is joining a growing list of city and county governments across the country that are taking action against the drug manufacturers and distributors for fueling the opioid crisis in their communities.
The County has hired expert law firms, experienced in holding the powerful pharmaceutical industry accountable. Those firms include: Levin, Papantonio, Thomas,
Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Greene Ketchum Bailey Farrell & Tweel; Baron & Budd; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; and McHugh Fuller Law Group.