Wednesday - November 8, 2017 4:45 am

La Crosse not yet ready to join class-action lawsuit against big pharma

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County admin. says they're evaluating decision and there's no deadline

While more than two dozen Wisconsin counties have lined up to sue pharmaceutical companies, La Crosse will stay on the sidelines. At least for now.

County administrator Steve O'Malley says there's no decision yet on whether to join the class-action suit against big pharma for deceptive marketing of opioid prescription drugs.

O'Malley does, however, feel like the just filed federal suit has some merit.

"Based on the stats that have been put together by the attorneys that have been working on this, the proliferation of and distribution of these kind of opioid pharmaceuticals have had a devastating impact on our state, our nation and our county," he said.

The federal suit, filed Tuesday, says "nefarious and deceptive" marketing campaigns of the big drug companies have led to the nation's current opioid crisis. 

Twenty-eight counties are part of the suit.

"There's not a deadline for making this decision but it's interesting that a vast majority of counties and their corporate councils are evaluating how much time this will take by county staff and what's the most likelihood of success," O'Malley said.

Among the counties, according to O'Malley, that have not joined the lawsuit are those most heavily impacted by the opioid crisis: Milwaukee and Dane counties.

O'Malley also said having the state attorney general go after the companies might not be great, either.

As for a better option?

"I really wish I had a great answer," O'Malley said. "We're evaluating whether or not we should join in the lawsuit and we will make a recommendation to the county board in the coming months."

The federal lawsuit seeks damages from drug companies for the resources getting devoted to fighting the opioid drug crisis.

Last modified on Wednesday - November 8, 2017 4:58 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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