The Association of Arkansas Counties filed a lawsuit yesterday against a number of major distributors and manufacturers of prescription opioids in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The lawsuit follows a nearly identical complaint brought by the Arkansas Municipal League on Tuesday. The Municipal League withdrew that suit on Wednesday, but plans to re-file it soon after making technical corrections*. Eventually, the Municipal League and Association of Arkansas Counties plan to join as plaintiffs in the same suit.
The lawsuit alleges that the 13 pharmaceutical companies listed as defendants deliberately misled the public and medical providers about the dangers of opioids, leading to a public health catastrophe. Arkansas has the second-highest opioid prescription rate in the nation.
The named defendants are Purdue Pharma; the Purdue Frederick Company; Cephalon; Pharmaceuticals USA; Janssen Pharmacueticals; Johnson & Johnson; Endo Health; Watson Laboratories; Acta Vis Pharma; Acta Vis; AmericsourceBergen Drug Corporation; Cardinal Health; and McKesson Corporation.
Around 100 lawsuits have been filed across the nation against opioid companies by cities, counties and states.
* CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post noted that the D-G reported that the withdrawal was done in order to give time to add groups to the coalition and that revisions would be ready next month; the D-G on Saturday morning stated that its earlier reporting was erroneous and the withdrawal was merely for technical corrections.