Angelina County files lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies over opioid crisis

Angelina County files lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies over opioid crisis
Updated: Aug. 22, 2019 at 6:08 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Angelina County has joined the list of counties and states suing pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit lists Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Endo Pharmaceuticals, alleging the opioid crisis is caused by the companies’ “fraudulent marketing, sales, and distribution of prescription opioids" and that the companies’ actions have “resulted in addiction, criminal activity, and loss of life.”

Before the late 1990s, “opioids were considered too addictive and debilitating for treating non-cancer chronic pain, such as migraines, back pain, and arthritis,” according to the lawsuit. It goes on to say that by the late 1990s and early 2000s, the pharmaceutical companies “began a marketing scheme to persuade doctors and patients that opioids were not addictive and should be used ubiquitously and perpetually’ in an effort to increase opioid use.

Angelina County also alleges that each defendant was driven by profits and ignored science and consumer health. The lawsuit claims Angelina County physicians and residents were directly impacted by misleading marketing campaigns.

“In Angelina County, the prescription rate per 100 people in 2015 was 105.4, which means that every man, woman, and child in Angelina County could have had at least one bottle of opioids,” according to the lawsuit.

As a result, “Angelina Count has spent and continues to spend large sums of money combating the public health crisis,” according to the filing.

It also claims Angelina County residents have “suffered not only injury to property, but also bodily injury, as a result of defendants’ misconduct in the false promotion and/or over-supply of prescription opioids.”

Angelina County joins Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Williamson, and Johnson Counties along with City of Houston and the Fire and Police Protection Retiree Healtcare Plan of San Antonio in this lawsuit.

The county is seeking anywhere from $1 million to $100 million in damages from the defendants.

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