County Joins Suit Against Pharmaceutical Companies
At its Jan. 24 meeting, Wetzel County Commission met with representatives from Gold, Khourey and Turak who stated that the West Virginia Attorney General recently won close to $47 million on two opioid cases within the state by suing many of the pharmacies that over-prescribed certain medications. Turak felt that West Virginia has been a “dumping ground” for pharmaceutical companies.
He announced that 780 million opioids have been distributed throughout the state over the last six years. That averages to 70.2 pills per person throughout the entire state. In fact, there was one town with a population of 392 people that received over 9 million pain pills through the course of those six years years.
Turak stated that the legal groundwork is already in place against these pharmaceutical companies and that the drug wholesalers were not in accordance with the law. Turak said wholesalers have a responsibility to report red flags, yet they have preyed upon our state, creating the current opioid epidemic.
The commission agreed to take the proposal under advisement with assistance from Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught before entering into any agreement.
After discussion, the commission passed a motion at its Jan. 31 meeting to join the law firm Gold, Khourey and Turak, in alliance with Fitzsimmons and Guida law firms, in a class act suit against the pharmaceutical companies.
The law firms would require a 25 percent contingency fee for their services, but only if the case was won. “These companies and suppliers have taken advantage of the situation and have dumped a huge amount of pills into our county, as well as many other counties, and we believe there is ample evidence for us to collect compensation for the damage that it has resulted in” added Commissioner Lemon.