Scott County is suing two drug manufacturing companies the county alleges contributed to its ongoing opioid epidemic.
The complaint, filed Monday, claims that opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals overstated the benefits of opioids for treatment of chronic pain and denied the high risk of addiction associated with opioids.
Attorney Bob Houston is representing Scott County. He says the lawsuit targets Purdue and Endo specifically because the county believes the drugs they manufacture contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the area.
“The reason for the suit is the devastating nature of what’s happened in our county, almost compared with anything else in the world per capita,” Houston says.
Purdue Pharma issued a statement on the lawsuit vigorously denying the allegations.
“We share public officials’ concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions,” the statement reads. “OxyContin accounts for less than 2% of the opioid analgesic prescription market nationally, but we are an industry leader in the development of abuse-deterrent technology, advocating for the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and supporting access to naloxone — all important components for combating the opioid crisis.”
Scott County joins a growing list of entities to file a suit against Purdue, including the states of Ohio, Kentucky, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Houston says Scott County is currently the only complainant in the suit.
“There is a possibility that some others might join us, but right now we’re standing alone,” Houston says.
Scott County made national headlines in 2015 when opioid abuse there sparked an unprecedented outbreak of HIV.
Read the complete complaint below: