Wisconsin lawsuit blames drug makers for opioid crisis

Wisconsin lawsuit blames drug makers for opioid crisis
Erin Dickinson, Partner, Crueger Dickinson law firm

Nearly two dozen Wisconsin counties say in a federal lawsuit that “nefarious and deceptive” marketing campaigns from pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday says local governments’ health and law enforcement services “have been strained to the breaking point” because of widespread opioid abuse. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and subsidiaries of the companies.

More than two dozen states, cities and counties have filed similar lawsuits accusing pharmaceutical companies of making false claims about the dangers of their drugs.

Purdue Pharma said in a statement it “vigorously” denies the allegations. Endo Health Solutions says it can’t comment on pending litigation. Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dane County was not among the 28 counties that filed suit Tuesday in federal court on the opioid crisis.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s office said Dane County staff are compiling data to develop a legal strategy moving forward, and are collaborating with other large Wisconsin counties that have similar experiences with opiate abuse.

“Given the enormous public safety and economic effects that opiate abuse and overdoses have on not only families but also public resources, Dane County staff have been meeting with county attorneys to review potential legal remedies,” the office staff said in a statement.

Wisconsin law firm Crueger Dickinson announced the lawsuit at a news conference in West Bend Tuesday morning: