NORFOLK – The city has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in creating a widespread diversion of prescription opiates for nonmedical purposes.
The case was filed on June 6 in federal district court in the Eastern District of Virginia. The city anticipates the case will be transferred to federal district court in the Northern District of Ohio where hundreds of similar cases filed by state, local and tribal governments are pending, city officials said.
The city alleges that many of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers promoted highly addictive, dangerous opioids, and deliberately misinformed doctors by claiming that patients using the drugs rarely experienced addiction.
The companies named in the lawsuit 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; Mallinckrodt; and Insys Therapeutics, Inc. 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 filing also alleges three of the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – 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. Additionally, the suit names the nation’s largest Retail Pharmacies – CVS, Walgreens and Walmart – for their role in failing to report suspicious opioid orders.
The city has hired a team of law firms: Baron & Budd; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Greene Ketchum Bailey Farrell & Tweel; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; McHugh Fuller Law; Powell & Majestro, PLLC; and Kalfus & Nachman, P.C.