The McDowell County Commission has filed a lawsuit against three large prescription drug corporations, claiming they over-shipped opioids into the county and contributed to its drug epidemic.
Defendants named in the complaint are Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen and Dr. Harold Cofer Jr.
Mark Troy of Troy Law Firm, PLLC, one of the lawyers representing the McDowell County Commission, said these companies and others have shipped hundreds of millions of prescription pills into West Virginia over the last several years.
He told 59News it has created problems, statewide, that must be stopped.
“You’ve got overdoses, you’ve got people who can’t take themselves off the drugs who will do anything to get more of them,” Troy said.
In their lawsuit, McDowell County commissioners accuse the three corporations of failing to properly monitor opioids coming into the county, failing to report suspicious orders and making large profits off of sales.
The County Commission is seeking compensatory damages for money it’s had to spend on increased arrests, keeping people in jail, Narcan and other costs. It is also seeking punitive damages for intentional misconduct.
“What they did to our citizens and our county and costs with jail and health were an unreal injustice to our county,” Gordon Lambert, McDowell County Commission president, said.
“These entities had an obligation to monitor what they were selling, where they were selling it and to report suspicious orders,” Troy added. “They simply failed to do that. That’s a legal obligation, and the impact on our region has been, quite frankly, catastrophic.”
Troy said he expects more defendants to be on the list in the near future, as his investigation continues.
“As discovery proceeds, you’re able to learn a lot more,” Troy said. “You’re able to tap into documents and information that you can’t otherwise tap into, and you basically follow the money trail.”
Troy said that the defendants have not filed answers in this case as of Jan. 23, 2017.
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