Plumas County is joining the ranks of California counties seeking settlement from a number of defendants for the opioid epidemic. Thirty counties in the state have entered into a coalition and filed complaints against pharmacutical companies, distributors and retailers for creating the opioid epidemic.
Counties like San Diego, Nevada and Fresno counties have united for the cause and represent 10.4 million people throughout the state.
All 30 counties are filing suit in the federal court. Plumas County, which at one time had the highest death per capita in the state due to opioids, filed a complaint and joined 500 other public entities seeking restitution.
Plumas County retained the national law firm Baron & Budd, along with a joint venture of law firms, to initiate litigation against a long list of manufacturers and distributors, and a few retail pharmacies.
Deputy Plumas County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr said the purpose of the litigation is to receive settlement money for the taxpayer funds that have had to go toward combating the epidemic. The legal action will include the cost recovery action and settlement funds to help prevent current and future problems with the opioid crisis.
The grounds for the complaints are misinformation, false advertising claims and racketeering on the part of the manufacturer defendants.
“The drug companies claimed opioids were not addictive, but obviously [they] are highly addictive,” said Stuhr.
Some of the expected manufacture defendants include Purdue Pharma, Teva Ltd. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Some of the drugs manufactured by these companies include OxyContin, Actiq and Norco.
Stuhr said because it is a federal case, progress will be slow, but they are optimistic that it will end in a settlement from the defendents for the benefit of the county.