Palm Beach County moving forward with suit against ‘Big Pharma’

Palm Beach County moving forward with suit against ‘Big Pharma’. (WPEC)

Palm Beach County voted Tuesday to move forward in suing opioid manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and doctors.

“As of September 15th of this year we had already lost another 571 people to overdoses. We’re seeing that the number of prescription drug related overdoses is not diminishing,” said Commissioner McKinlay. “It’s still increasing and those that helped cause the epidemic ought to help try to fix it.”

County Commissioner and Mayor Melissa McKinlay said the county is hoping to recover some of the millions of dollars spent fighting the opioid epidemic.

It all starts with a lawsuit against “Big Pharma.”

The county’s possible defendants include distributors, manufacturers like Purdue Pharma and Janssen, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, and local doctors.

“We put aside three million dollars just in the last year and half to help with the treatment efforts. That’s about $1,500 a call every time we roll an ambulance out of a fire station to respond to an overdose call, that was about 4 million dollars last year,” said McKinlay.

There have been more than 80 government entities to date that have also filed suit against opioid manufactures in state and federal courts nationwide.

Palm Beach county is hoping the pharmaceutical industry finally takes responsibility for fixing the problem the county says they created.

“We are asking the legislature for a million dollars to help us launch our addiction receiving facility early next year. Those are the types of cost that should we get any sort of judgement from the pharmaceutical industry we could pay for to help deal with this epidemic,” said McKinlay.

Fourteen firms have expressed interest in representing the county.

There will be a formal competitive selection process deciding which of the interested firms will represent the county.

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