Eureka Files Federal Lawsuit Against Manufacturers of Prescription Opioids

The City of Eureka, like the County of Humboldt, has filed a federal lawsuit against the manufacturers of prescription opioids.

Press release from the City of Eureka:

Prescription drugs

Prescription drugs [Image from the FDA]

The City of Eureka has filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California against the largest manufacturers of prescription opioids in the United States, as well as the three primary wholesale distributors of prescription opioids in the country. The complaint alleges Defendants violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and the federal racketeering statute (“RICO”), and also that Defendants’ conduct constitutes a public nuisance, negligence, and unjust enrichment under California law.
Opioid-related overdoses are the leading cause of death in the U.S., surpassing fatal car accidents. Since 2000, more than 300,000 people have died from fatal opioid overdoses—more than five times the total number of American lives lost during the Vietnam War. In 2016, Humboldt County, of which Eureka is the county seat, had the second highest average overdose rate in California. Of the 1,925 people who died from opioid overdoses in California that year, 33 were from Humboldt County.
As is true around the country, the increase in prescription opioid use in Eureka was followed closely by a dramatic rise in heroin use. As prescription opioids become harder to obtain, many patients turned to heroin, which is often significantly cheaper but delivers the same effect as other opioids. The costs to Eureka and its departments are substantial. Humboldt Bay Fire (HBF) has incurred substantial costs from responding to overdoses, deaths, and injuries related to opioid abuse. HBF is close to finalizing a protocol to have all EMTs trained in the administration of Narcan, an expensive medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. A significant portion of the Eureka Police Department’s (EPD) resources is now devoted to responding to the opioid crisis. EPD expends significant resources fighting drug trafficking, as well as responding to an increase in opioid incidents, including overdoses, and has instituted a protocol to train and distribute Narcan kits to its officers.
The City of Eureka has retained Keller Rohrback as outside counsel on a contingency-fee basis. Keller Rohrback is a law firm based in Seattle, with offices in California, and routinely litigates against the largest corporate defendants in the country. Keller Rohrback has already filed numerous opioid cases on behalf of counties, cities, and tribes as well as on behalf of Humboldt County. The City of Eureka joins these other entities from across the country seeking to hold manufacturers and distributors liable for the harms they have inflicted on American communities and the financial burden placed upon taxpayers.

 

  • Laytonville Rock
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33 comments

  • The system all screwed up all these dumb addicts have mest it up for people that are in pain and need meds

  • What about the doctors that continuously prescribed them? Why are they not being held accountable? They seem more liable than the manufacturer.

    • Doctors have to account for every pill they prescribe and are definitely held responsible whencaught – that’s why it’s hard to get pain medication legitimately these days.

      These companies were pumping millions of pills into towns of a couple of thousand, and have their own internal reports showing they knew these numbers didn’t add up, and just kept raising their self-imposed cap on how much they sell.

      They’re no better than meth cooks and should be held highly responsible for knowingly spreading this to make a buck. Drug dealers aren’t any better when they have names like Glaxo-Klein or Merck.

  • Ignorance and irresponsibility abound! I don’t know about the RICO claims, but blaming the company for illegal use is a bit like blaming car manufacturers for collisions, speeders, and every illegal use of a car. Some have legitimate need of these medications and use them properly. Without opioid pain medication I would not have any quality of life. NSAIDS cause me ulcers. Opioids can be effective and give life changing relief to those who need them. Just because some get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol does not make a distillery, winery, or brewery responsible for the drunk driver’s choice and alcohol has no medical benefit. Why are we holding those who produce a valuable medication that helps many, responsible for the choices of those who use it illegally?

    • If there was an epidemic of car manufactures sending hundreds of cars per capita to a town of a few thousand people, with no licenses, who were killing each other en mass, you would very likely see auto companies sued.

      Nobody is arguing opioids aren’t important medication – but these companies are knowingly (from their ownreports) profiteering on addiction. We don’t tolerate that from drug dealers and cooks, we shouldn’t start just because they have a name like Merck or Aegis.

      • Except that never, ever has happened in the history of automobiles, has it?

        • And guess what? They ended up on the receiving end of a successful campaign by Nader to stop knowingly unsafe designs being sold by said companies.

          So, yes, that’s a fine example of why it’s time to do something about the manufacturers.

  • Smoke pot instead of using what big pharma hands you.

    Seriously have you ever listened to the side effects caused by taking that pill from big pharma?

    Four wisdom teeth pulled and the Dentist was like her you’ll need some pain killers.

    I said no thanks I have my cannabis for that.

    He gave me extra gauze to make sure the wounds were covered when I smoked.

    Some may say my pain is to much I need those meds.

    I am truly sorry for that.

    Smoke weed and understand the best meds were made illegal in 1937 because they couldn’t be controlled by one corporate company.

    • Edibles or tinctures. Inhaling smoke into your lungs will always be an unhealthy choice.

    • I wonder what the warning label on pot will look like. Because there will be one and it won’t be the simple “Surgeon General” one. Has anyone smoking pot ever even thought about what chemicals they are taking into their lungs beside the one that makes them high?

      • as an owner of seriously herniated disc (several and some removed and fused) I can assure you that weed is the best road for long term life long relief. it doesn’t take the pain away but it helps. here’s some facts and comparison: 1. you can smoke weed all day if needed, but you might end up taking a nap at some point. you can’t do that with pills or alcohol and if you do you will need more than a nap. 2. you can smoke weed everyday for decades and still have a job, enough said. at one point I was taking morphine everyday and I will never take pills again, unless I have a major surgery. the warning label on weed should be a happy face sticker that says enjoy along with a standard smoke inhalation warning. its not addictive. there are pros and cons to everything in life and one needs to pick and choose based on longevity of quality of life. if I was still taking pills, I wouldn’t have a job and most likely be dead by now.

        • And you think your use is not noticeable in your posts? There is a much wider choice of treatment than choosing pot over opiates.

          As for pot not being addicting- just look at the anger and violence of those who use it when someone dares to criticise it. Something causes that kind of desperation.

          • Sorry we’re are not angry at you when you criticize it.

            Simply speaking it doesn’t impact our lives.

            We actually feel sorry for those that have no clue about cannabis. If you don’t use it then how do you know it’s effects on the human body?

            You can continue to live a life of medications that cause worse side effects then a natural plant.

            It’s your choice.
            Where we get angry and defensive is when pill popping Americans vote against a harmless plant and incarcerate fellow brothers and sisters because they choose to use a safe and harmless plant for their personal medication.

            You have no right to tell anyone what to take or not take for medication.

    • Things that make you go hmm

      Do you have a severe medical condition like I do, that requires me to do both ⁉️ I have a deteriorating spinal cord due to a spinal injury injury, my neck fused in three places and had to have a complete vertebrae removed. Everyone has the right to the best quality of life possible, and to your own choices 🌞 (or opinions:)

  • I like stars too!

    Government entities would do well to butt out of the relationship between Physicians and Patients. These lawsuits have no chance of success in the long run, and represent a significant waste of resources.

    In a County as pathetic as Humboldt, which has succeeded primarily in attracting large numbers of weak-minded drug addicts and complete losers to the environment of pot-growing and drug-supermarkets. In a population of drug-impaired and intoxication-tolerant individuals who accept their ridiculous role of growing weed and call it normal behavior, Humboldt County serves as the best model of what not to do.

    Meanwhile, the broke County, which fails to deliver the least amount of Mental Health and Drug Diversion and Public Health and Mental Health Services, while struggling with it’s role in the basic control of regulation of Pot Farmers and failing, year after year to tax, fine, and incarcerate offenders of all kinds.

    Your county is broke, and severely broken. Humboldt County is not a safe or attractive environment for “normal” citizens. It IS a huge sticky mess of disorders and below average accountability and personal control.

    The very idea that lawsuits against manufacturers of medication is appropriate, in a County where the citizens insist that THEY are “manufacturing medicine” while refusing to pay taxes, obey common laws and refuse to participate in the general economy, it is completely absurd.

    Humboldt County: You allowed the drug dealers to run wild, you allowed the Pot Farmers to do whatever they wanted!

    How is a manufacturer of medication responsible for any of this?

    • Well said, and to add to that, alcohol is an inebriant (sp?) marijuana is a psychotropic. Alcohol is in and out of the system in 24+hours, marijuana remains for days and days, and as a psychotropic it changes a persons psychology. Someone who uses marijuana for 2-3 years is no longer the person they would have been, their perception of reality is shifted to a false foundation. We have made a grave error in our approach to a drug that is going to drastically and negatively alter society.

      But I think Heartbroken (above) has a point, why not go after the doctors who prescribe? Surely lawsuits directed toward individuals will have more impact in reducing prescriptions for opioids rather than chasing well heeled well lawered corporate manufacturers. Only the lawyers stand to win.

      Unfortunately I do believe we are making a bed that no one is going to want to sleep in.

      • It’s been said that some vaccinations have the potential of affecting your grandchildrens quality of life. That’s A massive Amount Of Long Term Effects.

        Dr john bergman has dome great talks on health and healing on YouTube. Great information out there. Protect your immune systems and avoid big pharma gmo foods. Our choices are important, and the ability to sustain our farmers markets is one of things that I truly appreciate about this area. You are what you eat! Eat healthy!

        • There is something really twisted in the mindset that lives in horror of vaccinations and gmo food but can happily set fire to the dried leaves of a plant, when they usually have no idea of its origin, and take into their lungs. Constantly. When it is not even necessary for survival.

            • if they can’t prove it they will lose their house, pool and BBQ. the only proof they can use in their civil case to win is if the neighbor is found guilty of the criminal federal charges by a federal agency.

              • As I said- unreasoning anger and hostility comes from some kind of addiction. Because that is simply not true. It’s not even sensible. A civil case does not need something to be illegal to win damages for loss of use of one’s own property. It helps maybe but is not necessary. Creating a enough of a nuisance is all that is needed to get damages. Ask the Squires.

                • you didn’t read the article did you, its a civil case claiming federal racketeering. if you knew the truth about the squires case you would be embarrassed. we will have over 1,000 section 8 units in the not so distant future, same tenants, same problems, different slum owner.

      • Don't Drink While Pregnant

        the drug companies have a large part in how doctors prescribe. They instructed doctors to prescribe doses and frequencies to patients that were too high and too frequent, causing them to become addicted even if they didn’t abuse the medication and took it exactly as the label described.

        companies figured out they could make more money by telling doctors to prescribe 100mg tablets every four hours instead of 50mg tablets every six hours, and didn’t care that they would destroy lives and towns by doing so.

      • B Honest Roberts

        Alcohol in and out in 24 hrs.
        Tell that to your liver.

        Cannabis 2-3 years will alter your personality. Yeah maybe to a free thinking individual.

        OMG. Please.

        Cheer when a cannabis farmer gets raided and his lively Hood gets taken. Yet the cannabis farmer isn’t pushing his product on consumers.
        Consumers seek out the farmer to purchase his goods. The Farmer isn’t located in fifteen of the largest retail stores in your city( rite aid, CVS, Walgreens and many more)

        The farmer doesn’t hide behind a Dr. Telling you to take this or that with the worst possible side effects.

        Seriously the big pharma industry is the biggest drug dealer in America and they have used Dr.’s to legitimize it.

        330 million people in America and in one year we fill 4.3 billion bottles of legal drugs.

        That’s disgusting.

        http://time.com/3819889/medicine-spending/

      • Tell me about your perceptions when you are “wet brain” after a life of drinking alcohol. Tell me about your fatty liver. Tell me how your transplant went.

    • This has literally nothing to do with physicians – it’s addressing drug companies knowingly pumping medication enough for a few million people into towns of less than a few thousand.

      As far as the comparison to cannabis, I’m reminded of Bob Saget’s quote on the difference between weed and hard drugs….

      • I like stars too!

        Physicians have to follow law, create records, and, are legally responsible for the outcome.

        Cannabis has no legitimate medical purpose, other than the colloquial credit that marijuana addicts insist, through their foggy cloud of intoxication, that it has.

        Marijuana makes you think you are OK while it reduces your function, intellect, and ability. Opiates are nearly as useless, but they do temporarily reduce your perception of pain, in some cases, while exposing you to a painful withdrawal, if you end up habituated. After a time, though, opiates lose their effect.

        I do agree that opiates are less than great in general medical care, but demonizing them since it is currently fashionable and popular to do so, is even less of use to the general population.

        It takes a strength of will to control your use of certain substances, and, unfortunately, humans in general seem to lack this strength. Passing laws and filing lawsuits is probably not the most effective response… And these suits waste the funds, entrusted by the citizens, that were meant to be used for more important purposes.

      • Only because there is a mindset that “big” companies make a profit can always be safely attacked because it is assumed they are evil. Whereas doctors, who equally work for profit, and are sometimes evil, may be needed to save you.

        If you think you can dump on pharmaceutical companies safely, you need to think again. They are already so regulated in the US that many of them closed their US manufacturing. Or simply close out production of out of patent medicines because they don’t make enough profit to be worth the hassles of regulation and law suits. https://www.drugs.com/drug-shortages/ The flood of opiates already comes mostly from overseas, where they will laugh at lawsuits. https://www.npr.org/2017/03/11/519649096/can-china-ban-on-deadly-opioid-save-lives-in-the-u-s
        https://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/new-synthetic-drug-w-18-found-in-south-florida-7667569 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/a-killer-high-how-canada-got-addicted-tofentanyl/article29570025/
        The only ones hurt by such a foolish lawsuit are the already highly regulated US companies. The overseas ones are only going to face a loss of the US market- to our own equal harm. The US government had a cosy relationship with domestic drug manufacturers for years, protecting them somewhat from suits, but also getting a commitment from them to keep up manufacture of drugs no longer profitable as a public service. This was not a one way street.

        Smoking all the pot in the world is not going to help someone who can’t get the cancer drug they need or the diabetes, heart, lung, etc drugs because of short sighted public opinion. Despite pot users dearly grasped belief in its magical properties.

      • Ahm,yes it does since physicians are the ones prescribing it. These arent just over the counter pain meds pal

  • Spoons made me fat!

  • so would they be o.k. if they used a disclaimer like “please pop pills responsibly”?

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