DAVE ROSS

Everett’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma sounds more like a case against ‘El Chapo’

Mar 9, 2017, 12:12 PM

The City of Everett is blaming Purdue Pharma for the city’s opioid epidemic. If you read the lawsuit, it doesn’t sound like the city is suing a corporation as much as they are suing El Chapo.

Additional reading: City of Everett v. Purdue Pharma

The city says this pharmaceutical company was deliberately negligent in the distribution of Oxycontin and they want compensation for having to deal with the aftermath.

The charges are breathtaking.

“The lawsuit claims Purdue is responsible for knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently supplying Oxycontin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies and enabling the illegal diversion of Oxycontin into the black market,” former State Attorney General Rob McKenna explained. “It’s a strong claim, but this company has had trouble before.”

Indeed. When McKenna was attorney general he settled a lawsuit with the company in 2007 for not maintaining adequate control over suspicious order and for not notifying authorities for suspecting illegal activity.

And McKenna says Purdue is not free from another lawsuit — double jeopardy does not apply in this case.

“We settled litigation and they agreed to follow a set of regulations that involved tighter controls over who received the drugs they ship,” McKenna said.

Now, McKenna says, the City of Everett is claiming that Purdue has not complied with all those agreements and the company continues to allow their product to be diverted into the black market through suspicious pharmacies.

And that’s just the beginning. Other allegations against Purdue allege the company tried to expand the market for Oxycontin by engaging in campaigns to exaggerate the benefits and needs of the drug while minimizing the risks that go along with it. This could put Purdue on the hook for the expenses to the city, which are considerable – weaning people from drugs, rehab, police time. How high could it go?

The tab from the city could run into millions, McKenna says.

“Other communities have been devastated as well,” he added. “That could run into the billions and put them out of business or put them out of the business of making Oxycontin.”

Ross: Should doctors write the homeless prescriptions for housing in Seattle?

To be fair, Purdue did do some commendable things after McKenna’s lawsuit. That included reformulating the drug to make it impossible to crush and smoke.

“But, obviously, Everett believes they have evidence that [Purdue Pharma] continues to sell and abuse this drug,” he said.

On the other hand, while Purdue may have promoted it, they weren’t forcing anyone to use it or take it. Why wouldn’t this kind of approach be used against a gun manufacturer who may have noticed a pattern of sales to gangs? Or online retailers, who are selling drones to terrorists?

Pharmaceuticals, McKenna says, are regulated in a way that drones and handguns are not. If a gun manufacturer was looking the other way while guns were being diverted to gangs they might face claims. He says online retailers probably wouldn’t.

“I don’t know if Everett will be able to win or not, but we’ll see if Purdue can make its own case or not,” he said.

The lawsuit will likely take years.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke (L) interrupts a press conference held by Texas Go...
Dave Ross

Ross: When is the right time to politicize tragedy?

Beto O’Rourke, campaigning again to be governor of Texas, interrupted Governor Greg Abbot accusing him of doing nothing to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
16 hours ago
A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign following the mass shooting at Robb ...
Dave Ross

Ross: The problem with the ‘just arm the teachers’ argument to prevent school shootings

Simply adding security to schools will never be enough. The real problem with America is that we take 'evil,' and give it a gun.
2 days ago
Mourners attend a vigil at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elem...
Dave Ross

Ross: At what point do parents just give up and send their kids back to online classrooms?

No law is going to stop a suicidal shooter; it’s one of the side effects of freedom. Until at some point parents start to consider going back to online classes.
3 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Do Americans really believe in the free market when they plead for lower gas taxes?

Gas prices just won’t quit. But what’s really surprising are the demands for government intervention coming from people who are supposed to believe in the free market. 
4 days ago
(Kayla Farmer/Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: It’s time to put the phone down

And, of course, now that I have grandchildren, I am following his example. The moment I sense something cute is about to happen, out comes the phone.
5 days ago
(Photo by Scott Graham/Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: The real secret to a happy workforce

When employees get asked ‘how can we make you feel appreciated’ they’ll say, well you know, donuts are great, but a little more money would be nice too.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Everett’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma sounds more like a case against ‘El Chapo’