The City of Dothan has officially joined in the lawsuit more than 2,600 entities have filed against major pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their role in the nation’s opioid crisis.
Federal court filings show the Beasley Allen law firm filed Dothan’s suit on Friday. Beasley Allen is also representing the City of Daleville and several other city and county governments in the state in the lawsuit against major companies like Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma – the maker of OxyContin.
Generally the lawsuits allege that pharmaceutical makers and distributors downplayed the addictive nature of opioids, which has resulted in a nationwide epidemic of addiction and drug overdoses. In 2017, Alabama averaged more than one opioid prescription per person – more than double the national average.
Governmental entities assert these developments have resulted in an increase of their costs due to law enforcement and medical personnel response needed to opioid-related medical events.
In mid-September, Purdue Pharma announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection ahead of a proposed settlement that could be worth about $12 billion, the Associated Press reported. That followed a $572 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson an Oklahoma judge issued in the lawsuits local governments there filed against the drugmaker.
The Dothan City Commission authorized participation in the lawsuit several months ago. City attorney Len White declined comment on the case, citing pending litigation.