LAS CRUCES – Doña Ana County announced on Tuesday it has filed lawsuit against the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their role in creating a widespread diversion of prescription opiates for nonmedical purposes.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 15 in federal district court, names Purdue Pharma and seven other companies that manufacture a number of drugs including OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco.
The suit also alleges three major distributors of pharmaceuticals failed to monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Also named in the suit are retail pharmacies CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, for allegedly failing to report suspicious opioid orders.
The county has recorded the fourth highest number of opioid-related deaths out of 33 counties in New Mexico and has struggled to manage the costs associated with widespread opioid abuse. Between 2014 and 2016, 104 people died from drug overdoses in Doña Ana County.
“Doña Ana County has invested a substantial amount of time, money and resources to aggressively combat our opioid crisis from every angle, including the pursuit of grant money that has enabled us to purchase more than 1,700 naloxone kits,” County Attorney Nelson Goodin said. “Now is the time to finally hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible.”
The county alleges that some drug manufacturers pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids and deliberately misinformed doctors about rates of addiction.
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