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July 7, 2017 - 10:58am

Governments are suing drug companies over opiates and Genesee County may follow suit

posted by Maria Pericozzi in opioids, news, batavia, notify.

There have been multiple lawsuits filed by state and local governments around the nation against major drug manufacturers over their marketing and distribution of opioids, and Genesee County officials are thinking about becoming one of the plaintiffs.

Several counties in New York are part of the effort to pin at least some of the financial burden for the opiate epidemic on pharmaceutical companies.

County Attorney Kevin Earl is researching the feasibility of the county filing suit, either individually as a member of a multi-plaintiff action, against major drug manufacturers to recover current and future damages to the county taxpayers from abuse of opioid pharmaceuticals.

“If you want, [I can] investigate whether it would be better for us to join an existing lawsuit or (file) on our own,” Earl said at the Ways and Means Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Finding out the costs and expenses needed is something Earl will be researching as well.

Earl said most counties are doing research, then bringing a recommendation back to the legislative body.

Committee Member Raymond Cianfrini said every state is beginning to go after pharmaceutical companies in that regard.

“I don’t see a problem with us piggybacking on somebody else in a class-action lawsuit,” Cianfrini said. “But, we need to know who is going to do it, what it’s going to cost us, [and] what are the time frames.”

Mary Finnegan
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 24 2010 - 6:17pm

2005 I published DEATH'S LITTLE SISTER, based on the true story of my daughter's death from a heroin overdose and predicted this epidemic due to doctors becoming salesmen for Big Pharma. I wonder why others do not see that we are spiritual creatures, all ONE, equal, and do away with the class-state and cultures and societies based on money. We could bring heaven to earth. For more info: FB page THE ERIE IS COMING Mariev, Erie Matriarch

Julie Morales
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Last seen: 1 week 2 hours ago
Joined: Nov 27 2009 - 1:29pm

Mary, they do not see (or care) beyond their greed. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Any judgment against pharmaceutical companies will be less than a slap on the wrist, and won’t change a thing. Big Pharma budgets lawsuit payouts like the electric bill. They market and profit from poisons with impunity.

“…future damages…” I wouldn’t use this language. It won’t increase the judgment.

alvin tufts
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Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jun 22 2012 - 3:56pm

Why sue the drug companies they are just making products available. It 100% falls on the doctors over prescribing them. Doctors are the only ones that can authorize their use. Not even a pharmacist can give out a single pill without a doctor signing off. Doctors know their patients are lying and still give them the specific prescription the patient wants even if it makes no sense that they still need it. Most of the time its just to shut them up.

Rich Richmond
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Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: Mar 29 2011 - 4:50pm

The big drug companies do more good than people give them credit for; keeping many of us alive for years, when we would have died. If you sue them out of existence, what then?
I'm not saying they are perfect, however, doctors make mistakes, some people have an adverse reaction to certain drugs when most don't. Perhaps when need Tort reform to lower the cost of drugs, and a more streamlined process to get new drugs on the market

Howard B. Owens
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Last seen: 8 min 52 sec ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

The phrama companies are being accused of using deception about the use and addictiveness of their drugs and other practices to encourage over prescription.

Doctors make mistakes, but they're also people, and all people respond to incentives. Give them incentives to prescribe something, and some percentage will respond to the incentive, especially if they aren't fully informed about the potential risks.

Opiates are physically addictive. They rewire your brain to make you physically dependent on the drug.


Rich Richmond
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Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: Mar 29 2011 - 4:50pm

Good points, Howard. Perhaps doctors should be mandated to explain the good and bad about a given drug and have the patient sign a release form, witnessed by a second party, acknowledging the downside and all assumed voluntary risks when taking them.

Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

Howard's last sentence puts the whole lawsuit into perspective.

Tim Miller
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Last seen: 13 hours 46 min ago
Joined: Jun 20 2010 - 9:51am

Over a beer with my doctor the other day, he was describing the predicament doctors are in. "The customer is always right", unless the customer is coming to him trying to get meds based on ads for the drug of the moment.

For example, I'd been seeing a lot of commercials for a drug to battle OIC (Opioid Induced Constipation). That is a real thing now as opioids are so over-prescribed. When one of his patients asks about that OIC drug, my doctor suggests that maybe, just maybe, the patient should cut back on the cause rather than just battling the symptom. He said that rarely was well received.

And the drug companies are pushing this stuff. He took a survey on his treatment plan for his patients when they come to him for OIC. (My doctor gladly takes these surveys as the drug companies pay for his time.) He rattled off six or eight different "treatments", ranging from "more fiber in diet" all the way to "enema" and "three tacos" from a really, really grody taco place in town. After each step, the drug rep said "but what if THAT doesn't work?" Ultimately, trying to get the doctor to say "more drugs".

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