MADISON, Wis. — The Republican Attorney General of Alabama has filed suit in federal court seeking damages from opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharmaceuticals to “… hold the parties responsible for this epidemic legally liable …” Meanwhile in Wisconsin, where over two-thirds of the state’s 72 counties have brought their own suits, the office of Attorney General Brad Schimel continues to refuse to act.
“Republican and Democratic Attorneys General and municipalities across the state and across the nation understand that the people producing and profiting from the use of these highly addictive drugs need to be held accountable as we fight the opioid crisis,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “But our top cop is still refusing to be part of the solution.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall alleged in a lawsuit filed in a federal court that Purdue misrepresented the risks and benefits of opioids, enabling the widespread prescribing of the drugs for chronic pain conditions.
The lawsuit said that as Purdue reaped significant profits, Alabama suffered significant costs as a result of a public health crisis that had led to hundreds of deaths in the state each year due to opioid overdoses.
“It will take years to undo the damage but an important first step we must take is to hold the parties responsible for this epidemic legally liable for the destruction they have unleashed upon our citizens,” Marshall said in a statement.
Despite proclaiming that combating opioid addiction would be a top priority if elected during his 2014 campaign, in office Schimel has taken no legal action during his term in office to crack down on the tactics of the producers of prescription opioids.
Schimel has attempted to use a multi-state investigation into the practices of opioid manufacturers as an excuse for his failure to seek legal redress as part of the fight against the crisis. But Ross noted Alabama is also participating in the investigation.
He concluded, “There is no defense for Brad Schimel’s continued inaction. He is refusing to hold the big corporations that manufacture and market opioids accountable, instead leaving Wisconsin families to suffer the tragic consequences of an epidemic rooted in corporate greed and malfeasance.”