Nearly A Dozen Indiana Communities Sue Opioid Industry In New Flurry Of Suits

first_imgJohn Russell Indianapolis Business Journal Staff for www.theindianalawyer.comNearly a dozen Indiana cities and counties have filed lawsuits in recent days against opioid makers and distributors, claiming the companies have flooded their communities with the addictive painkillers and engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns that helped lead to a growing crisis.The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, represent a growing effort to take on the powerful opioid industry. Many of the lawsuits are nearly identical, claiming the manufacturers aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, and falsely represented to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction.The complaints also say the companies aggressively advertised to and persuaded doctors to prescribe highly addictive painkillers, and “turned patients into drug addicts for their own corporate profit.”Plaintiffs include Fort Wayne, Noblesville, Greenwood, Terre Haute, New Castle, Chandler and Atlanta, as well as Harrison County, Vigo County and Jennings County.More will likely be filed in coming days, said Manuel Herceg, an attorney with Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Indianapolis, which is leading a consortium of about a half-dozen law firms engaged in the effort.Plaintiffs in many of the latest suits include opioid makers Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Jannsen Pharmaceuticals, as well as distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma—which produces OxyContin and has no affiliation to Purdue University—is facing dozens of similar lawsuits. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.When asked why the suits were filed at nearly the same time, Herceg said: “We’ve received information from our clients and filed accordingly.”He said the suits eventually would be consolidated in a multi-district litigation effort in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, before Judge Dan Polster.That effort will include lawsuits from other states, including Ohio and Kentucky, he said. He declined to predict how many suits eventually would be filed.Many of the suits claim the industry knowingly fueled a black market in addictive medicines that led to overdoses and put a financial stress on community services.Other law firms outside the consortium have filed similar suits in recent days, include Cohen & Malad LLP, which in November sued opioid makers and distributors on behalf of the city of Indianapolis, blaming them for a “dramatic increase in the use of prescription opioid pain medications” by using deceptive marketing tactics and through their “failure to identify, report, and stop suspicious orders of those medications.”The city of Kokomo, in its lawsuit, stated that between 2011 and 2015, the number of non-fatal emergency department visits due to opioid overdoses in Howard County increased by more than 61 percent. Between 2015 and 2017, calls for service in Kokomo coded “overdose in progress” increased by 134 percent.“This incredible harm to not just the victims of opioid addiction, but the communities in which those individuals live, stems directly from the Defendants’ intentional choice to pump opioids into Plaintiff’s Community in violation of state and federal law,” the suit stated.Pointing a finger at the industry, the lawsuit further stated: “Despite the clear evidence before their eyes—that the number of opioids being sent into communities like City of Kokomo could not be explained or justified by any conceivable medical need, but could only be explained by a flourishing and rapidly expanding black market for opioids — these wholesale distributors continued to push their substances into the community, willingly and knowingly becoming participants in the black market they were fueling.”The suits also claim that Indiana has been especially hard hit by the opioid epidemic. The state ranks ninth in the country for its opioid prescription rate per capita, and opioid overdose rates have more than doubled in the past three years.Nationally, dozens of states, cities and counties — including Ohio, Mississippi, Orange County in California, and the Washington cities of Seattle, Everett and Tacoma — have sued the pharmaceutical companies.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2015, drug overdoses killed more than 52,000 Americans. Most involved prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin or related illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. People with addictions often switch among the drugs.Healthcare Distribution Alliance, an industry group representing distributors, has said such lawsuits are misguided. The alliance is a national trade association representing distributors, including McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen. It said its members are “deeply engaged in the issue and are taking our own steps to be part of the solution — but we aren’t willing to be scapegoats.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

US Home Price Index Pace Continues Deceleration

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Home Prices S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices 2014-12-30 Seth Welborn U.S. Home Price Index Pace Continues Deceleration Home prices in the U.S. increased at a slower pace in October than in September, although eight cities experienced growth at a faster rate, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released by S&P/Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday.The rate of home price growth eased for both the 10- and 20-city composite indices year-over-year in October compared to September. The 10-city composite gained 4.4 percent year-over-year in October, compared to 4.7 in September, while the 20-city composite experienced a 4.5 percent year-over-year gain in October – down from 4.8 percent in September. The national index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, saw a year-over-year gain of 4.6 percent in October compared to 4.8 percent in September.Eight cities out of the 20-city composite, however, scored higher year-over-year gains than the average for the composite, led by Miami (9.5 percent) and San Francisco (9.1 percent). Las Vegas had the lowest annual return in October with a decline of 1.2 percent.Both composite indices experienced slight month-over-month declines in home prices (0.1 percent) from September to October for the second straight month while the national index saw a decrease of 0.2 percent. The two cities with the largest month-over-month increases in October were San Francisco and Tampa at 0.8 percent each while Chicago and Cleveland had the largest declines for the month at 1.0 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.Ten cities out of the 20-city composite reported lower month-over-month percentages, while eight cities reported increases from September to October. Two cities, Detroit and San Diego, reported no month-over-month change. The city with the largest month-over-month increase in home prices was San Francisco (0.8 percent).”After a long period when home prices rose, but at a slower pace with each passing month, we are seeing hints that prices could end 2014 on a strong note and accelerate into 2015,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Two months ago, all 20 cities were experiencing weakening annual price increases. Last month, 18 experienced weakness. This time, 12 cities had weaker annual price growth, but eight saw the pace of price gains pick up. Seasonally adjusted, all 20 cities had higher prices than a month ago.”Blitzer noted that while most economic reports for November and early December have generally been positive, most housing industry statistics for that period have not been.”Third quarter GDP was revised to 5 percent real growth at annual rates, and unemployment was at 5.8 percent as payrolls added over 300,000 jobs in November,” Blitzer said. “Housing was somber: housing starts pulled back 1.6 percent, existing home sales were at 4.93 million, down 6.1 percent, and new home sales were 438,000, down 1.6 percent, all in November.”center_img December 30, 2014 615 Views Sharelast_img read more