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Three Florida Counties Planning to Sue Big Pharma Over Opioid Crisis

December 19th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Florida’s Attorney General has been investigating pharmaceutical companies for their part in causing the opioid crisis along with a coalition of 41 states  since September.
More than ten states have filed lawsuits against Big Pharma, blaming the companies for playing a part in causing the national opioid crisis.
Florida has yet to take any legal action so far.
“You know we put in a lot of investigation ourselves before we go out and file these lawsuits, because we have the ability to gather a lot of documents doing it the way we’re doing it,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Tired of waiting for the state, three counties have decided to sue on their own.
Broward County is the latest, joining more than 100 jurisdictions around the country who have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies.
“This is probably our number one public safety and public health crisis right now and this is something that you know needs to be addressed,” said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine.
For the lawsuits to prevail, counties have to prove pharmaceutical companies marketed opioids as safe product, despite knowledge of research suggesting the opposite. It’s similar to the state’s case against Big Tobacco in the 1990’s, which won the state $13 billion. Some of the money went to fund anti-smoking efforts.
Addiction and mental health advocates hope any possible settlements from pharmaceutical companies can go towards addiction services like Central Receiving Facilities.
“They often are the folks on the front line who see the results of addiction and who will actually bring the folks into treatment for their first go around,” said Melanie Brown-Woofter, with the Florida Council for Community Mental Health.
The Attorney General’s Office says if drug companies fail to cooperate with the multi-state investigation, Florida is ready to file suit in a moment’s notice.
More Florida Counties are expected to file suit in the next few months. Miami-Dade and Escambia County have already expressed some interest.

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