Orland Fire joins class action lawsuit to block Opioid addiction

Orland Fire joins class action lawsuit to block Opioid addiction

Orland Fire joins class action lawsuit to block Opioid addiction

The Orland Fire Protection and 13 other municipalities including several from the southwest suburbs have filed a class action suit against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of opioid-based prescription drugs, and 26 other defendants accused of downplaying the negative impact of opioids on users and fueling the rising opioid crisis

The Orland Fire Protection District joined 13 Illinois governments including several from the Southwest Suburbs in filing a class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against Purdue Pharma, one of the leading manufacturers of opioid-based prescription drugs, and 26 other pharmaceutical companies and three doctors.

The lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma intentionally downplayed the negative harm that their products would have on users, and engaged in “a years’ long campaign to misrepresent the risks of, and shift public opinion on, the use of prescription opioids to treat chronic non-cancer pain.”

The class action lawsuit further asserts, “Defendant manufacturers purposefully and aggressively marketed opioid products for unapproved uses, buried unfavorable research, and employed a network of phony front groups, opinion leaders, and sales representatives to expand the market for opioids and obtain massive profits.”

Lead attorney James J. Roche, who represents the Orland Fire Protection District, said that the lawsuit, filed on July 19, 2018, also targets doctors who allegedly over-prescribed opioids to their patients.

victims of opioid addictions peaking at public conference to fight drug addiction

Images from May 2017 conference on Opioid and drug addiction conference

“The opioid epidemic has caused extreme financial hardship and personal tragedy throughout the fire district. Every time an ambulance is deployed, paramedics and firefighters must respond,” said Roche, of James J. Roche Associates in Chicago.

“The fire district has received in excess of 80 calls per year due to this epidemic.”

Also represented in the class action lawsuit are the City of Harvey, the Village of Broadview, the Village of Chicago Ridge, the Village of Dolton, the Village of Hoffman Estates, the Village of Maywood, the Village of Merrionette Park, the Village of North Riverside, the Village of Orland Park, the City of Peoria, the Village of Posen, the Village of River Grove, and the Village of Stone Park.

Prescription opioids are devastating communities across the country and in the State of Illinois. Since 1999, there have been more than 351,000 reported opioid-related deaths nationwide—more than 6 times the number of U.S. soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.

Today, an American dies from an opioid overdose every 19 minutes and more than 60% of all drug overdose deaths in the United States involve an opioid, according to the class action lawsuit. In addition to the tragic loss of life and the heartbreaking impact on children and loved ones, some estimates state that the opioid crisis is costing governmental entities and private companies as much as $500 billion per year.

The Orland Fire Protection District has had educational programs through schools and public seminars now, in excess of 5 years. The fire district has sued many of the manufacturers of these opioids, along with certain doctors, alleging they had knowledge of the damage caused by these opioids and put corporate profits in front of public safety. “We believe that the opioid crisis will result in litigation similar to the Tobacco case of the 1990s. We look forward to having these manufacturers be held accountable for the damage done to our communities,” said attorney Roche.

Also named as defendants along with Purdue Pharma are: Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma, Inc., Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Endo International PLC, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc., Insys Therapeutics, Inc., Normaco, Inc., Endo Health Solutions, Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Allergan PLC, Actavis PLC, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Watson Laboratories, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Inc., Actavis LLC, Mallinckrodt PLC, Mallinckrodt LLC, Amerisourcebergen Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation, and doctors Paul Madison, William McMahon, and Joseph Giacchino.

The class action lawsuit alleges that “Defendants Paul Madison, William McMahon, and Joseph Giacchino were working around the clock to prescribe opioids to anyone who came through the door of their clinic in Riverside, Illinois—whether or not they had a valid need for them, were from out-of-state, or presented any number of patently suspicious traits. The pill mill they operated distributed thousands upon thousands of opioid prescriptions to countless residents of Plaintiffs’ communities, completing a chain of indifferent profiteering that has marked the acts—and omissions—of all Defendants’ conduct in making, distributing, and selling prescription opioids.”

The case was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Case #2018-CH-09020

Click here to download lawsuit.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

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