Cleveland (AP) — Between 2012 and 2016, a large number of prescription analgesics were dispensed in Lake County, Ohio, resulting in an amount equivalent to 265 tablets for all residents. Just south, a flood of prescription opioids over the same period was equivalent to 400 tablets for all residents of Trumbull County. The lawyer Subsequent
Cleveland (AP) — Between 2012 and 2016, a large number of prescription analgesics were dispensed in Lake County, Ohio, resulting in an amount equivalent to 265 tablets for all residents. Just south, a flood of prescription opioids over the same period was equivalent to 400 tablets for all residents of Trumbull County.
The lawyer Subsequent overdose epidemics Each county struggling financially costs at least $ 1 billion. Currently, these counties are seeking payment from major national pharmacy chains that were involved in many of their distributions.
In a federal trial launched in Cleveland on Monday, Lake and Tumble counties convince juries that retail pharmacies have played a major role in causing pollution in the way they dispense painkillers to their communities. will do.
This is the first time a pharmacy company, in this case CVS, Walgreens, Giant Eagle, and Wal-Mart, has been tried to defend themselves in the ongoing legal calculations in the country over the opioid crisis. The trial, which is expected to last about six weeks, could set the tone for a similar proceeding against a chain of retail pharmacies by government agencies across the United States.
The trial focuses on harm to the county and the response by the pharmacy chain, which pharmacists claim in court filings that they simply fill out prescriptions written by doctors for legitimate medical needs. Guess. The trial also has a human side, being watched closely by people whose families are part of the approximately 500,000 Americans who have suffered from opioid abuse over the last two decades.
“People need to be aware that drug addiction is a family illness and the whole family is affected by it,” said Sharon Glover, who died after her daughter became addicted to prescription painkillers and then heroin. Said. “I will never be the same.”
Glover, who lives in the small Trumbull County community in Mesopotamia Township, said she believed her daughter Rachel Liarini started using prescription painkillers around 2013, but missed signs of addiction. By 2016, she said her mother needed help. When she lacked painkillers, she turned to heroin to develop her habits.
“She had a terrible look,” Glover said of her daughter, a registered nurse, and the mother of two small children. “We hugged, and I told her we would get over this.”
Rehabilitation attempts in Ohio and Florida have failed. Autopsy revealed that Realini died at home in April 2017 due to an overdose of fentanyl. No other drug was found in her system.
Frank Garucci, a county lawyer, said it resembled the patterns found throughout the community. Heroin and synthetic fentanyl have replaced prescription analgesics, which were difficult to obtain because the industry was forced to dial back into pharmacy.
Another major pharmacy chain, Rite Aid, has settled in Lake and Trumbull counties outside Cleveland. The Tumble settlement was $ 1.5 million. The amount of Lake County has not been disclosed.
The trials, which began on Monday before Judge Dan Polster in the US District Court, are part of a broader group of federal opioid proceedings integrated under the supervision of the judge, with a total of approximately 3,000 cases.
Jim Missocky, a lawyer and special project coordinator in Trumbull County, said with Jason Boyd, the manager of Lake County, that the ongoing opioid crisis is financially burdensome.They cited increased costs for courts, prisons, foster parents, law enforcement agencies, and addiction treatment.
The financial burden is particularly severe in Trumbull County, where thousands of people have been unemployed in steel, car manufacturing and car suppliers in recent years.
“It hit the budget a lot,” said Missocky. “We don’t have much wealth in this community.”
According to Missocky, Trumbull County had to hire a part-time pathologist at the county coroner’s office. When the county morgue is full, the bodies are sent to Cleveland or Lake County for autopsy.
The addiction treatment facility “is far beyond capacity,” said Boyd of Lake County.
“It’s a problem we hear continuously,” he said. “‘Where are you going to treat these people?’”
According to data previously published through the court, lawyers in the two counties say 80 million prescription painkillers were dispensed in Tumble between 2012 and 2016. In Lake County, it was 61 million tablets. In a trial brief, the pharmacy company claims to follow guidelines established by the US Drug Enforcement Department and Ohio on how stores dispense painkillers.
A Rhode Island-based CVS lawyer said the allegations against the company were “totally unfounded.”
“The evidence presented at the trial shows that CVS not only meets, but exceeds, the legal requirements for distributing prescription opioids in Lake and Trumbull counties,” the company said. The lawyer writes.
Illinois-based Walgreens lawyer said the two counties “used a confusing and contradictory legal theory against other defendants before embarking on the idea of suing a retail pharmacy chain.” rice field.
The trial will be the fourth in the United States this year to test government claims against various players in the pharmaceutical industry over tolls for prescription analgesics. Others have not yet reached a judgment or judgment.
Many of the most prominent defendants have already reached a settlement as the trial is underway and others are in line. Occasionally, a small number of governments or a single defendant like Rite Aid may be involved.
AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, three major domestic drug distributors, join pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson $ 26 billion settlement nationwide Earlier this year.Recent Federal Bankruptcy Judge Approved Purdue Pharma Settlement, Manufacturer of Oxycontin, it is potentially worth $ 10 billion.Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company earlier this year Agreed to pay almost $ 600 million For the role of advising pharmaceutical companies on how to increase sales of prescription opioid analgesics.
In Ohio, two major counties, Kaiyahoga and the Summit, have settled a proceeding against a drug distributor for $ 260 million before the trial began in November 2019.
Glover believes that pharmacy giants have a great deal of responsibility for their daughter’s addiction and are pleased that they are on trial.
“Pharmacy companies are the biggest drug dealers out there,” Glover said. “They are white-collar drug dealers and need to be held accountable.”