Cabarrus Co. files lawsuit against multiple opioid manufacturers and distributors

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Cabarrus County has joined the list of local counties bringing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, claims multiple manufacturers, including Purdue, Janssen, and Actavis "engaged in a massive false marketing campaign to drastically expand the market for such drugs and their own market share." The lawsuit alleges distributors, such as CVS and Walmart, " reaped enormous financial rewards by refusing to monitor and restrict the improper distribution of those drugs."

The suit states it is taking aim at two primary causes of the opioid crisis: a marketing scheme and a supply chain scheme.

"The Marketing Defendants relentlessly and methodically, but untruthfully, asserted that the risk of addiction was low when opioids were used to treat chronic pain, and overstated the benefits and trivialized the risk of the long-term use of opioids," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states opioid marketers' goals were to increase sales by convincing doctors to prescribe opioids "even though they knew that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, and that their other claims regarding the risks, benefits, and superiority of opioids for long-term use were untrue and unfounded."

The distributors, the lawsuit claims, failed to effectively control the distribution of prescription opioids and even "actively sought to evade such controls."

"By providing misleading information to doctors about addiction being rare and opioids being safe even in high doses, then pressuring doctors into prescribing their products by arguing, among other things, that no one should be in pain, the Marketing Defendants created a population of addicted patients who sought opioids at never-before-seen rates," the lawsuit states, claiming, "The scheme worked, and through it the Marketing Defendants caused their profits to soar as more and more people became dependent on opioids."

Cabarrus County is among several in the WBTV viewing area who have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Just this year, Gaston, Burke, Mecklenburg, Caldwell, and Shelby counties all filed suits involving the opioid crisis.

There are currently more than 300 lawsuits filed by cities and counties nationwide against opioid manufacturers.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.