Cobb County to serve as test case for national pharmacies being tried for opioid crisis

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The Georgia Legal professional Basic’s workplace filed a lawsuit in opposition to opioid distributors and producers. The go well with accuses opioid makers of conspiring to deceive docs, regulators and sufferers in regards to the addictive nature of their medicine. And it claims the epidemic burdened the state with elevated bills for dependancy remedy, policing, jails and foster care.

Georgia obtained $16.8 million as a part of a $573 million settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug OxyContin, that concerned 47 states and the District of Columbia, Legal professional Basic Chris Carr announced Feb. 4.

A spokeswoman for Georgia Legal professional Basic’s workplace confirmed Thursday that the state prosecutor’s lawsuit in opposition to different opioid producers and distributors continues in Gwinnett County Superior Court docket.

Cobb County is looking for damages for the epidemic’s influence on the general public well being infrastructure, first responders, regulation enforcement and different taxpayer bills tied to the opioid disaster. The county has but to tabulate its monetary toll, however that determine might be established throughout subsequent 12 months’s trial or any subsequent settlement negotiation, in keeping with Cavitt.

County officers mentioned the bellwether trial might presumably finish with a verdict for damages to be paid out to Cobb County. It might additionally result in settlement negotiations that end in a pay out for the county.

Multidistrict litigation in opposition to opioid drug producers like Johnson & Johnson and Allergen stays in world settlement talks, in keeping with Cavitt.

The trial date and presiding choose for Cobb’s bellwether trial have but to be chosen. Whereas Cobb County is the plaintiff within the case, Cavitt mentioned the trial might be held on the Richard B. Russell Federal Constructing in downtown Atlanta.

If the case proceeds to a jury trial, jurors could possibly be chosen from the Atlanta division of the U.S. District Court docket for the Northern District of Georgia, which incorporates Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties.

4 different states will host related bellwether trials in opposition to the foremost pharmacy chains that’s anticipated to start someday in 2022. In addition to Georgia, instances involving pharmacies might be held in Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and New Mexico.

“The chance to deliver our case to trial comes with nice duty,” Cobb County Fee chairwoman Lisa Cupid mentioned. “We really feel a deep sense of obligation to make use of this course of to present voice to the experiences and ongoing wants of our group members on the entrance strains of the opioid epidemic, together with first responders, medical professionals, people in restoration, and households impacted by the disaster. We sit up for presenting our case and might be prepared when that day comes.”

Former Cobb commissioner Bob Ott mentioned the county was recruited to affix the opioid lawsuit in 2018. The grievance was initially filed in federal court docket within the Northern District of Georgia, then transferred to Ohio to develop into a part of the bigger multidistrict lawsuit filed by cities and counties all through the U.S.

Georgia as an entire noticed a fast spike in opioid overdoses after 2010 that was pushed by an growing misuse of opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone. Plaintiffs within the multidistrict litigation allege opioid producers didn’t warn clients in regards to the long-term dangers of utilizing the medicine and distributors didn’t adequately monitor prescriptions.

Cobb County grew to become emblematic of the statewide epidemic. It led the state in general drug overdose deaths in 2017 with 146 deaths. The next 12 months, Cobb ranked second amongst Georgia counties with 112 overdose deaths, in keeping with Cobb & Douglas Public Well being.

Cobb County resident Missy Owen and her husband Michael based the Davis Route Basis in 2014 to fight opioid dependancy after her son, Davis, died from an opioid overdose.

Missy Owen mentioned the struggle to show pharmacy chains’ legal responsibility within the opioid epidemic could possibly be essentially the most difficult of all of the multidistrict instances.

“But when nothing else it would spotlight the immense toll the opioid disaster has left in Cobb County, metro Atlanta, and elsewhere,” she mentioned. “Shining extra gentle on the scenario will hopefully assist educate folks and assist lead us to a sustainable answer.”

MORE DETAILS

Cobb County grew to become emblematic of the statewide epidemic. It led the state in general drug overdose deaths in 2017 with 146 deaths.

The next 12 months, Cobb ranked second amongst Georgia counties with 112 overdose deaths, in keeping with Cobb & Douglas Public Well being.



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