Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and the Miller Law Firm, P.C. File Lawsuit Against Drug Companies Behind Michigan’s Opioid Epidemic

October 20, 2017

SAN DIEGO – Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and The Miller Law Firm filed a joint lawsuit in Michigan on October 12, 2017 on behalf of Wayne County and Oakland County against multiple drug manufacturers and distributors in connection with the nationwide opioid epidemic.  The complaint alleges that the deceptive marketing and sale of opioids caused Wayne County and Oakland County to suffer compensable damages.  This is the first lawsuit filed in Michigan regarding what public health officials have called the worst drug crisis in American history, leading to more than 183,000 deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2015 from overdoses directly related to prescription opioids.

The lawsuit focuses on nine pharmaceutical companies that allegedly used Big Tobacco-style marketing of prescription drugs to increase sales, leading to otherwise avoidable deaths. In the United States, more than 47,000 people died in 2014 due to drug overdoses, and that number passed 52,000 in 2015. Michigan has been severely impacted by the epidemic.  Michigan healthcare providers wrote 11 million prescriptions for opioid drugs in 2015 and an additional 11 million in 2016 – more annual opioid prescriptions than Michigan has residents.

“Our firm is committed to holding opioid manufacturers and distributers accountable for their fraudulent marketing of opioids, which has fueled the worst drug scourge ever,” said Robbins Geller partner Mark J. Dearman. “The defendants’ massive nationwide campaign of false marketing, and their failure to report suspicious sales as required by law, resulted in dramatic increases in prescribing which advanced in lockstep with overdose deaths,” added Robbins Geller partner Aelish M. Baig.  Co-counsel E. Powell Miller further commented that, “Many people have lost their lives and yet the drug companies, which have made billions, still continue to make a profit from deceiving the public regarding the dangers of these drugs.”

From 2013 to 2015, opioid-related deaths in Wayne County alone increased from 478 to 506, and in 2016, that number reached 817 – more than 32 overdose deaths for every 100,000 residents. Similarly, in 2016, Oakland County experienced 165 opioid-related overdose deaths. Both Wayne County and Oakland County have also been dealing with significant financial consequences as a result of opioid-related deaths, as well as over-prescription and addiction, including increased law enforcement and judicial expenditures, increased jail and public works expenditures, increased substance abuse treatment and diversion plan expenditures, increased emergency and medical care services, and lost economic opportunity.

“We see the devastation every day in our hospitals, in our jails and at the morgue, and it’s getting worse. There has to be a price to be paid when corporations show such disregard for human life,” said Executive Warren C. Evans of Wayne County. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson added, “The opioid industry put profits over people and now people are paying the price, some with their lives.”

About Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is widely recognized as a leading law firm advising and representing clients in complex litigation, including litigation involving consumer fraud, securities fraud, antitrust claims, ERISA claims, insurance fraud and intellectual property, as well as whistleblower protection and qui tam suits. With 200 lawyers in 10 offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest class action recoveries in history. Robbins Geller attorneys have recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of the firm’s clients. Robbins Geller not only secures recoveries for defrauded consumers and investors, it also implements significant corporate governance reforms, helping to improve the financial markets worldwide. Please visit rgrdlaw.com for more information.

About The Miller Law Firm, P.C.
The Miller Law Firm, P.C., headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, is recognized throughout the United States as a leader in complex business lawsuits and securities, antitrust and consumer class action litigation.  The firm has recovered in excess of $3 billion on behalf of its clients and litigates throughout the United States in all areas of commercial litigation, including shareholder litigation, supply chain disputes, contract matters, employment litigation, contract and real estate litigation. For more information see Millerlawpc.com.

Contact:
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Mark Dearman, 800-449-4900
Mdearman@rgrdlaw.com

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