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City of Prescott Files Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers & Distributors

25 April 2019  
“This case is about corporate greed. Simply put, each of the Defendants put its desire for profits above the health and well-being of Prescott’s residents.”

The City of Prescott has filed suit against several Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors, both local and national, claiming that “Each of the Defendants in this action engaged in an industry-wide effort to downplay the dangerous and deadly potential effects of the misuse of prescription opioids. The opioid epidemic has hit every community in Arizona hard, including the City of Prescott.”

Here are the named manufacturers of the Opioids:

  • ALLERGAN PLC; 
  • ACTAVIS PLC; 
  • ACTAVIS, INC.; 
  • WATSON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. n/k/a ACTAVIS, INC.; 
  • WATSON LABORATORIES, INC.; ACTAVIS LLC;
  • ACTAVIS PHARMA, INC. f/k/a WATSON PHARMA, INC.; 
  • MALLINCKRODT, LLC;
  • TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD.; 
  • TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.; 
  • CEPHALON, INC.; 
  • ENDO HEALTH SOLUTIONS INC.; 
  • ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; 
  • JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; ORTHOMCNEIL-
  • JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. n/k/a JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; 
  • JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICA, INC. n/k/a JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; 
  • PURDUE PHARMA L.P.; 
  • PURDUE PHARMA INC.; 
  • THE PURDUE FREDERICK COMPANY, INC.; 
  • INSYS THERAPEUTICS, INC.; and the individual defendants: 
  • JOHN KAPOOR; 
  • MICHAEL BABICH

Distributor Defendants:

  • McKesson, 
  • AmerisourceBergen and, 
  • Cardinal Health

Individual Defendants include:

  • Richard Sackler, 
  • Beverly Sackler, 
  • David Sackler, 
  • Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, 
  • Jonathan Sackler, 
  • Kathe Sackler, 
  • Mortimer Sackler, and 
  • Theresa Sackler

Local Prescriber Defendants

  • Dr Douglas J. Campbell, M.D.
  • Defendant Randy Joe Spicer, N.M.D.
  • The complaint continues: 
"Each of the Defendants was fully aware that their products placed patients at an unreasonable risk of opioid-related addiction and/or death, particularly patients who continued taking opioids for three or more consecutive months. Despite this knowledge, Defendants continued to manufacture, market, distribute and prescribe opioids to the nation at large, as well as to Plaintiff’s local, and often its most vulnerable, citizens."

Name brand drugs, such as Oxycontin and Percocet were among the drugs prescribed, as well as generic versions. According to the complaint, a deceptive marketing scheme in behalf of opioids made the problem worse, “More than two Arizonians die each day from an opioid overdose. There have been a 74% increase in deaths among Arizona residents since 2012.”

It is claimed, that  the City of Prescott, home to over 175 for-profit rehabilitation businesses, which failed in many cases, to provide proper and effective facilities, was deliberately targeted as a good place for addicted people. These people, would later become homeless and thrust into the community, further requiring medical care and rehabilitation at the City’s expense. 

As proof of their schemes, the Plaintiffs point out that, "Insys’ former chief executive officer pleaded guilty to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors in exchange for prescribing Subsys…” The City of Prescott is not the only entity to file suit, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has also filed a lawsuit against INSYS in connection with the alleged kickback scheme.

Dr. Douglas J. Campbell, a family medicine physician was one of the named medical providers, a Prescriber Defendant, in the lawsuit. Dr Randy Joe Spicer, a naturopathic doctor from Prescott that is already serving time for prescription drug fraud and sentenced to 13 years, was another named provider. The lawsuit also provides for “Does 1 through 1000 inclusive” which may be named at a later date as the lawsuit progresses.

According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the prescription rate in Yavapai County was higher than every county in the state except for Mohave County. The Yavapai Prescription rate even exceeded La Paz and Maricopa counties. 

See the entire complaint that was filed in Yavapai County Superior Court here. 


Here is the press release sent out by the City of Prescott:


CITY OF PRESCOTT 
CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE 
221 South Cortez Street 
Prescott, Arizona 86303 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 24, 2019 


Contact: Jon M. Paladini 
City Attorney 
221 South Cortez Street 
Prescott, Arizona 86301 
(928) 777-1274 (office) 


Jeffrey H. Reeves, Esq. 
THEODORA ORINGHER PC 
535 Anton Boulevard, Ninth Floor 
Costa Mesa, California 92626-7109 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Telephone: (714) 549-6155 


City of Prescott Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors 
File in State Court for Damages to Prescott 


Prescott— The City Attorney’s Office for the City of Prescott released the following statement related to the City of Prescott filing a state court lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opiates. 


“Yesterday, the City of Prescott filed a lawsuit in Yavapai County Superior Court seeking redress for the societal and financial harm it has suffered at the hands of those directly responsible for the opioid crisis — the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. The City is seeking compensatory damages and injunctive relief for the City from the manufacturers and distributors of opiates. 


As every Prescott resident knows, our community has been uniquely and disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis plaguing our country today. By filing this lawsuit, the Mayor and the City Council are making it clear that our community will not simply acquiesce in the harms the people of Prescott have already suffered, and will continue to suffer, while the defendant manufacturers and distributors continue to profit from their sales and distribution of highly addictive drugs. 

Prescott has retained, at no expense to the City or its taxpayers, a coalition of law firms to prosecute this action on its behalf. The litigation will be led locally by the Arizona firm of Fennemore Craig. Lead trial counsel will be the high-stakes litigation boutique law firm of Theodora Oringher PC. Theodora Oringher will be assisted by mass tort specialists, Andrews & Thornton. 

The City of Prescott is filing in Yavapai County Superior Court, instead of in the federal courts in Cleveland, because the case is rooted in Arizona state law, and because the City believes it is important that an Arizona jury and judge decide the facts that are unique to Prescott. The filing alleges the following: 

• Each of the Defendants in this action engaged in an industry-wide effort to downplay the dangerous and deadly potential effects of the misuse of prescription opioids. Simply put, these Defendants put their desire for profits above the health and well-being of Prescott’s residents. Prescott and its citizens have paid dearly as a result. 

• The Manufacturer Defendants engaged in a scheme designed to increase the number of opioid prescriptions written across the state of Arizona, specifically in Prescott. The Defendants’ scheme was particularly well-suited to Prescott because it is home to a multitude of economically and medically vulnerable populations that Defendants knew were uniquely predisposed to opioid addiction, including the elderly and veterans. 

• These Defendants succeeded in dramatically increasing the number of opioid prescriptions written in Prescott by (1) affirmatively concealing the truth about the risk of addiction and death associated with long-term use of their products, and (2) pressuring their respective sales forces to deceive (and bribe) local physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioner prescribers to flood Arizona—and Prescott—with far more opioid prescriptions than were medically necessary. 

• The Distributor Defendants shipped prescription opioids throughout the country, including to addresses in Prescott. Rather than meet their obligations under Arizona law to report suspicious orders of opioids, these Defendants willfully ignored impossibly large orders shipped into Prescott and across Arizona. They failed to report any suspicious shipments despite being under clear statutory and common law obligations to do so, and in contravention of their own internal policies and procedures. The Distributor Defendants’ breaches of their respective reporting obligations were willful, motivated entirely by their desire to maximize profits by any means necessary, and were committed without consideration of the cost to Prescott or its citizens. 

A link to the filing may be accessed here: 


http://bit.ly/2IEDvPP 

Residents of Prescott and Yavapai County are well aware of the harm we have suffered and the numerous steps the City has undertaken to mitigate that harm. The City has made great strides in its efforts to combat the opioid crisis but has suffered a tremendous financial burden in the process. And the costs will keep coming for at least another generation. It is therefore time to seek relief directly from those who created this crisis to ease the burden on Prescott’s coffers and taxpayers that they have been forced to shoulder due to the malfeasance of the opioid manufacturers and distributors.” 

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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.