SALEM, N.H., Sept. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Leaders in the fight against the opioid abuse Thomas Tombarello and George Maglaras, President and Immediate Past President of the New Hampshire Association of Counties announced today that six New Hampshire counties and several New Hampshire cities and towns took action to hold the companies they believe are responsible for opioid crisis accountable by filing a series of lawsuits. The Counties participating in the filings are Strafford, Rockingham, Cheshire, Grafton, Sullivan and Belknap.
“New Hampshire counties are taking the aggressive action needed to recoup taxpayer dollars,” Rockingham Commissioner Tombarello said. “New Hampshire Counties have developed, funded and devoted substantial resources toward many programs that address the problems created by the Opioid epidemic. The counties intend to put the funds to good use,” Tombarello added. “Ending this crisis will require the efforts of many. Until the source of this epidemic is addressed and drug makers and distributors are compelled to follow the law, our counties, cities and towns will continue to fight an uphill battle.”
Maglaras, one of the originators of the litigation, said, “We are doing our best, but we need additional resources for extended treatment prevention and education. We also need to strengthen law enforcement. In addition to using any recovery to address current issues, we intend to work with law enforcement in a forward-thinking manner to head off the next epidemic. When the opioids are cut off, the addicts will have the urge to turn to something else. It is our goal to be ready in advance to stop that new problem in its tracks.”
Attorney Robert J. Bonsignore, of Bonsignore Trial Lawyers, PLLC who is representing the six New Hampshire Counties as well as other governmental entities, stated, “The taxpayers are entitled to recoup the costs associated with this artificially created drug epidemic from those responsible for creating it. Congress enacted a self-regulating system intended to allow those selling the pills to keep opioids under control. It was an utter failure and a very costly mistake. Many lives have been lost and many more ruined. New Hampshire has been hit hard and we are going to fight back,” Bonsignore added
Atty. Bonsignore further stated that, “The Opioid Epidemic effects all in our communities – rich, poor, employed, unemployed, fathers, mothers, babies and teens. We are committed to put an end to this artificially created opioid epidemic, recoup the monies that taxpayers have been forced to expend, and force those who knowingly profited to pay the costs. These legalized drug dealers have made billions of dollars at the expense of the taxpayers, but they went too far, and we have them. We are going to keep fighting until we take them down and make them pay.”
Cheshire County Administrator Chris Coates added, “While these pharmaceutical giants have reaped in billions of dollars per year, the taxpayers of New Hampshire have carried the financial burden created by this Opioid epidemic.“
Cheshire County Commissioner Charles Weed stated, “Our families have also been forced to suffer the related emotional burden including loss of lives. We have filed suit seeking damages and to curb their ability to flood our communities and homes with highly addictive drugs.“
Since 2009 and U.S. sales have exceeded 8 billion dollars per year. According to the Center for Decease Control, prescription opioid abuse costs are about $55.7 billion annually in the United States. New Hampshire has the second highest rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in the country. In 2016, there were 437 opioid-related overdose deaths—a rate of 35.8 deaths per 100,000 persons—nearly 3 times higher than the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. From 2013 through 2016, opioid-related deaths in New Hampshire tripled. This increase was mainly driven by the number of deaths related to synthetic opioids (predominately fentanyl), which increased more than tenfold, from 30 to 363 deaths, during this time. The taxpayers of New Hampshire carry the cost of the epidemic and the costs have continued to rise.
Opioid abuse is the leading cause of death for persons under 50. Studies show that addiction can occur in as few as three days use and that persons on opioids for more than 30 days have a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming addicted. According to the Harvard Law and Policy Review, opioid prescriptions rose 104% from 2000 to 2010 and in 2015, over 300 million prescriptions were written for opioids. That is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. Opioids have been the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the United States.
Big Pharma directed millions of dollars on promotional activities directed at doctors and patients that overstated the benefits and understated or misled the risks of opioids. From 2013 to 2015, non-research opioid-related payments were made to physicians exceeding $45 million with the top 1% of physicians receiving 83% of the payments. Cardinal Health was fined $44 million in 2016 for failure to report suspicious orders of drugs and McKesson was fined $150 million in 2017 for failure to report suspicious orders of drugs. They spent over $750 million dollars lobbying Congress prior to being authorize to self-regulate.
Robert J. Bonsignore
(781) 856 7650
SOURCE Bonsignore Trial Lawyers