North Carolina county files lawsuit against drug companies; atto - FOX Carolina 21

North Carolina county files lawsuit against drug companies; attorney general speaks out

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Buncombe County (FOX Carolina) -

It's hard to believe something so small could cause so much damage.  "The opioid crisis is wreaking havoc on our state," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said. 

Experts said painkillers are responsible for more than three times the number of U.S military deaths in the Vietnam War claiming more than 200,000 lives.

"A couple of years ago, Congress passed a law that weakened the DEA's ability to hold drug distributors and manufacturers accountable," Stein said.

Stein took us back to where he believes the epidemic started, relating it back to a 2015 law and the drug companies.

"We know why the drug distributors would want the DEA to be weakened, but that's not in the interest of the people, and Congress should be taking action that helps the people, not the drug companies," Stein said. 

Stein is now leading a nationwide effort, teaming up with more than 40 attorney generals to urge Congress to repeal a law that stripped the DEA of the power to oversee these drug manufacturers. 

"Today Buncombe County is announcing we are filing a suit against some of the major wholesale pharmaceutical companies," Buncombe County Chairman Brownie Newman said.

Newman said the county is suing five major drug distributors claiming more than a dozen companies falsely pushed these drugs onto doctors and the community. 

"It's costing Buncombe County taxpayers millions of dollars in the cost to our first responders," the county claims in this suit. It says, dctors had the wrong information and they were told by drug companies patients would "rarely get addicted" by the pills.  

Those listed as defendants in the lawsuit include: 

  • Perdue Pharma, which sold OxyContin
  • MS Contin
  • Dilaudid
  • Butrans
  • Hysingla and Targiniq
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon, which sold Actiq and Fentora
  • Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which sold Duragesic and Nucynta
  • Endo Health Solutions, which sold Opana
  • Percodan
  • Percocet and Zydone
  • Allergan
  • Activis and Watson Pharmaceuticals, which sold Kadian
  • Norco
  • generic versions of several opioids

The wholesale drug distributors listed as defendants are McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen Drug. 

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