BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City officials have filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, seeking damages for “societal and financial harm,” according to a news release distributed by the city on Tuesday afternoon.

Companies named in the suit include Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma — including members of the Sackler family as owners of Purdue — as well as Allergan PLC, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

“Bullhead City hasn’t been sitting by idly,” as stated in the city’s lengthy statement. “Yet, the financial toll of the epidemic runs deep and it will take many years and tremendous financial resources to fully abate the effect wrought upon our community by the defendants.”

The suit has been filed in Mohave County Superior Court, which would allow for the case to be presented to an Arizona judge and jury with the goal of focusing on lack of adherence to state laws by the defendants and how the opioid crisis has affected Bullhead City.

Allegations made by the city about companies named include:

  • Downplaying “dangerous and deadly potential effects of the misuse of prescription opioids” to increase profits.
  • Scheming by manufacturers to increase the number of prescriptions written across Arizona and, specifically, Bullhead City. It describes the city as a place with “a multitude of economically and medically vulnerable populations that defendants knew were predisposed to opioid addiction, including the elderly.”
  • Increasing the number of opioid prescriptions for people in the city by “concealing the truth about the risk of addiction and death associated with long-term use of their products” and “pressuring their respective sales forces to deceive local physicians and other prescribers to flood Arizona — and Bullhead City — with far more opioid prescriptions than were medically necessary.”
  • Shipping by distributors of prescription opioids across the country — including addresses in Bullhead City — while ignoring requirements in Arizona law that they report large orders that were shipped into the city and other locations across the state. The actions were “willful, motivated by their desire to maximize profits and were committed without consideration of the cost to Bullhead City or its citizens.”

Between 2006 and 2016, Mohave County dispensed more opioid prescriptions than any other Arizona county and “this includes more than those dispensed in the highly populated areas of Maricopa and Pima” counties, according to the city’s statement.

The statement also noted that in one year alone during that decade, four doctors in the county combined to prescribe more than 6 million opioid pills.

The Bullhead City Council approved moving forward with legal action in December. City government won’t be paying legal costs but would share any proceeds that result from cases its side wins.

Representing Bullhead City will be Theodora Oringher PC, which is based in Costa Mesa, California, and Andrews & Thornton, headquartered in Newport Beach, California.

The release also highlighted various efforts to help residents addicted to opioids, such as training Bullhead City Police to administer Narcan, a medication that reverses overdoses of opioids.

There was an opioid symposium last year hosted by Mohave Community College and Arizona State University-Lake Havasu City held to inform residents about the drugs, the widespread effects of misuse and various area resources for prevention, treatment and recovery.

(5) comments

jgrinstead

Why not also go after the doctors and clinics that have prescribed them? They are criminals. I hope it just isn’t about money for attorneys but actually going after the core of the problem.

kenoj

This so called 'epidemic' is brought about by individuals that are unable to control their desire to get high and then higher. Pharmacies lower the amount of pills they will give the customer, doctors are fearful of prescribing, the drug addicts search for new ways of getting their highs and all the while those that truly need opioids and are responsible in how they take them are the ones that are ultimately being punished. Perhaps if communities such as Bullhead City and others actually did a little policing and enforced the law instead of looking the other way all the while knowing who the problem people are then frivolous lawsuits such as this would not be needed to cover up in failures in other areas.

KimmieB

I agree with you a thousand percent. I just posted a comment a few days ago on an original post about this ridiculous law suit regarding my father and need of the medication after two failed back surgeries and now over five different doctors that have told him his only option at this point is pain management which he has been on for nine yrs now. Only to move here from California to now have problems getting his needed medication. It’s ridiculous that Doctors n Pharmacies can’t do their jobs correctly therefore the ones whom don’t abuse it and truly need it have to suffer in pain while trying to get his proper medication, it’s ridiculous. This is what they should be addressing how do we help the ones whom don’t abuse it and clearly need it, hello he’s been on it nine yrs prescribed by only one Dr. whom was his Doctor when he lived in California. What is he supposed to do make a 11 hour round trip to California once a month to get it, he can barely sit in a car for an hour drive without being in so much pain and remind you I have taken him to five different Doctors in the last 2 years and every single one of them tell him there is nothing that can be done to help him other than pain management.. This makes me so angry that this problem is just ignored..

bb427stang

What exactly is the cities standing in a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer? Is BHC going all big city so they can make their lawyers some money? You have far better things to do with the time, resources and money than chase a current social subject.

R

If money is won will free rehab facilities be opened considering many people were hurt being misguided about opioid addiction? Or is this just to make the rich richer? Also I agree with one of the comments about the addict's being policed better. Because some of us need medication and we are being punished for those who misuse and abuse medication.

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