Chatham Co. sues opioid manufacturers, distributors

Chatham Co. sues opioid manufacturers, distributors

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Chatham County is currently in the discovery period as it works to try and be reimbursed for the money spent dealing with the opioid crisis.

Last month, the county filed a suit against several drug companies and manufacturers. The county claims they've spent millions of dollars cleaning up the mess left by opioid makers and sellers.

Mark Tate is the lawyer representing Chatham County in this case.

"The evidence is going to show [the drug companies] started conspiring as many as two and a half decades ago to try and increase the level of prescriptions of these pharmaceuticals," Tate said.

Tate says several drug manufacturers and companies told physicians they needed to treat pain with opioids. If they didn't, then Tate says the companies would tell doctors that they were committing malpractice.

The suit also claims drug manufacturers created the term "pseudoaddiction."

"And therefore, it's not real addiction. And the treatment, mysteriously and magically, for 'pseudo-addiction' is more opioids. So, they got people more and more addicted to these medications," Tate said.

Chatham County is just one of several counties taking drug manufacturers to court. Beaufort County filed a suit back in February. Lawyers say it comes after counties have had to commit several different resources fighting the opioid epidemic.

"The cost we don't deserve to bare that essentially has subsidized and made the pharmaceutical companies very, very wealthy," Tate said.

Tate says Chatham County has 90 prescriptions for every 100 residents. The lawyer says first responders, DFCS, jail and medical personnel have had to devote resources in order to clean up after the drug manufacturers.

"This lawsuit is about ending our taxpayer subsidy to big drug companies, manufacturers, and distributors," Tate said.

You can read the entire lawsuit below:

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