Warren County files Lawsuit against 29 companies for opioid epidemic

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Within recent years lawsuits have been filed against companies that are involved in manufacturing selling and distributing opioid drugs.

Warren County filed a lawsuit Friday against companies they say are responsible for an opioid epidemic that has ravaged Warren County as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"29 different defendants named in our lawsuit in various parts of the industry from manufacturers to distributors pharmacies and all of them played a role in pushing opioids way beyond what they should have ever been used for," said Lee Coleman, Attorney, Hughes&Coleman. "They knew about the addictive qualities of opioids, they understated how bad it was to try to get people addicted, and they succeeded."

The 29 companies include Teva pharmaceutical industries ltd.; Teva pharmaceuticals USA, inc.Cephalon, inc.; Johnson & johnson; Janssen pharmaceuticals, inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen pharmaceuticals, inc. N/k/a Janssen pharmaceuticals, inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, inc. N/k/a Janssen pharmaceuticals, inc.; Endo health solutions inc.; Endo pharmaceuticals, inc.; Qualitest pharmaceutical inc.; Abbvie inc., Knoll pharmaceutical company; Allergan plc f/k/a Actavis plc.;Allergan finance llc f/k/a Actavis inc. F/k/a Watson pharmaceuticals, inc.; Watson laboratories, inc.; Actavis LLC;Actavis pharma, inc. F/k/a Watson pharma, inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt, llc;Mallinckrodt brand pharmaceuticals; Covidien plc;specgx LLC; cardinal health, inc.; Mckesson corporation; Amerisourcebergen Corporation; Walgreens boot alliance, inc. D/b/a Walgreen co.; Wal-mart stores, inc.; Cvs health; Rite Aid Corporation; the Kroger company; and does 1 – 100, inclusive.

The Warren County Fiscal Court authorized Judge Michael Buchanon in December to sign an agreement with 4 law firms. The local representation being Hughes & Coleman of Bowling Green.

"Warren County and all counties across Kentucky have spent thousands and hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars for services," added Coleman. "Child home care services, police, first responders, and all the different governmental services that get used up and cost Warren County money and every other county around here."

Warren County is not the only county in Kentucky to file a lawsuit. 62 counties in Kentucky have done so including Allen county

"According to the count we have Warren County will be the 62nd county to file so right at half of them. Most of the ones that filed, filed in 2017-2018," added Coleman. "A lot of this local area, the Barren River District in the BRADD area only Allen County has filed."

The lawsuit, mentions that according to the Centers for Disease Control over 70 thousand Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017 and over 60 percent of those deaths involved opioids.

"For those that haven't followed it, for years the life expectancy of Americans has risen and then a couple of years ago it started to decline," added Coleman. "Life expectancy is shorter and it is because of deaths from opioids it is that bad."

A lawsuit only represents one side of the case.

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