Plains Twp. to join in big pharma law­suits

The Citizens' Voice - - Local - BY BOB KALINOWSKI STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: bkali­nowski@cit­i­, 570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

Plains Twp. is join­ing the le­gal bat­tle against some of the big­gest pre­scrip­tion drug com­pa­nies in the world, ac­cus­ing them of en­abling the opi­oid cri­sis.

Fol­low­ing ac­tions by Luzerne County and Wilkes-barre City, the town­ship is fil­ing a fed­eral law­suit against the mak­ers and dis­trib­u­tors of opi­oid drugs.

The law­suit will tar­get five of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers of pre­scrip­tion opi­oids and three of the largest whole­sale dis­trib­u­tors. Abuse of opi­oids drugs, le­gal and il­le­gal, have led to a record num­ber of fa­tal over­doses.

“Plains Town­ship has joined the fight against na­tional opi­oid dis­trib­u­tors and man­u­fac­tur­ers be­cause the cost of this opi­oid cri­sis has over­whelmed our town­ship’s abil­ity to pro­vide for the health and safety of our res­i­dents,” said Plains Twp. Com­mis­sioner Peter J. Bis­con­tini. “Ev­ery fam­ily, no mat­ter the house­hold in­come, has been af­fected by the drug and opi­ate epi­demic, ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly.”

The law­suit al­leges drug man­u­fac­tur­ers have failed to safely and re­spon­si­bly mar­ket their branded opi­oids to pa­tients through­out Plains Twp., and whole­sale dis­trib­u­tors have breached their le­gal duty to mon­i­tor, iden­tify and re­port sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in the size and fre­quency of opi­oid ship­ments to phar­ma­cies and hos­pi­tals and other providers.

The case will be filed in the Mid­dle District of Penn­syl­va­nia, but will be trans­ferred to the North­ern District of Ohio, where sim­i­lar case have been moved for dis­po­si­tion.

The Feller­man and Ciarim­boli law firm in Kingston is one of the lo­cal firms rep­re­sent­ing Plains Twp.

“These com­pa­nies ha­bit­u­ally broke the law in terms of dis­tri­bu­tion. We now have a flood of these dan­ger­ous drugs in our com­mu­nity,” said At­tor­ney Ed Ciarim­boli. “These drugs are killing peo­ple ev­ery­day.”

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