State’s Attorneys Sue Opioid Manufacturers

A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Keneally:


Today, Patrick Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the County against some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies and physicians.

The Complaint, filed in McHenry County, alleges that the named pharmaceutical ompanies deceptively marketed opioid prescription drugs and misrepresented these drugs’ addictive qualities.

In the Complaint, the County is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the enormous amount of money it has spent and continues to spend combatting opioid related misuse and abuse.

In addition to monetary damages, McHenry is seeking to enjoin the defendants and prohibit them from their alleged unfair and deceptive practices.

“One of my principal responsibilities as the McHenry County State’s Attorney is to hold accountable those persons or entities whose conduct causes others to suffer,” said Kenneally.

“This lawsuit is an attempt to do just that.”

In addition to McHenry County, DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, and Lake County are filing similar lawsuits.

The named defendants are Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Abbott Laboratories; Abbott Laboratories, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Dr. Perry Fine; Dr. Scott Fishman; and Dr. Lynn Webster.

The state of the opioid crisis continues to be dire in McHenry County.

Tragically, we have lost over 70 members of our community to an opioid-related overdose death in 2017.

Apart from the toll on human life, the crisis has financially strained the services the County provides its residents and employees.

Human services, social services, court services, law enforcement services, the office of the coroner/medical examiner and health services, including hospitals, emergency and ambulatory services, have all been severely impacted by the crisis.

These costs include unnecessary and excessive opioid prescriptions, substance abuse treatment services, ambulatory services, emergency department services, and inpatient hospital services, among others.

The opioid crisis has also caused the counties to incur substantial economic, administrative and social costs relating to opioid addiction and abuse, including criminal justice costs, victimization costs, child protective services costs, lost productivity costs, and education and prevention program costs, among others.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants sought to create a false perception in the minds of physicians, patients, health care providers and health care payors that using opioids to treat chronic pain was safe for most patients and that the drugs’ benefits outweighed the risks.

This was allegedly perpetrated through a civil conspiracy involving a coordinated, sophisticated and highly deceptive (unbranded to evade the extensive regulatory framework governing branded communications) promotion and marketing campaign that began in the late 1990s, became more aggressive around 2006, and is ongoing.

Specifically, the complaints detail how the defendants allegedly poured significant financial resources into generating articles, continuing medical education courses and other “educational” materials, conducting sales visits to doctors, and supporting a network of professional societies and advocacy groups – all of which were successful in the intended purpose of creating a new and phony “consensus” supporting the long-term use of opioids.

The lawsuit will be prosecuted by the law firms of Simmons Hanly Conroy and Meyers & Flowers, two of the nation’s largest law firms focused on consumer protection and mass tort actions.

These firms will represent the County on a contingency fee basis and, as such, the cost of litigation will not be borne by taxpayers.


State’s Attorneys Sue Opioid Manufacturers — 16 Comments

  1. It’s a money grab, pure and simple.

    It sounds as if they’re looking for a tobacco industry type payout.

    These companies make other drugs besides opiods.

    If the lawsuit is successful, the price of other drugs will rise to pay for the settlement.

    As always, the big winners will be the lawyers.

  2. I really like Patrick.

    He’s a nice guy…but this move will make me vote against him.

    This isn’t the drug companies’ fault….it’s the abusers’ fault.

    It’s like blaming guns, or knives, or cigarettes.

    Politicians are so phony.

    They run the government into the ground and FAIL over and over again, they run deficits, tax higher, and fail again….and then they blame the taxpayer.

  3. This really sucks, Patrick. We all know who is responsible for the opioid crisis. It is the deep state government that rakes in the profits by using the people as their pawns. The politicians are the ones that colluded with big Pharma at the expense of the people. Going to sue all the politicians, too? Bribes, kickbacks and protected poppy fields in Afghanistan anyone?

  4. I’m with Frank. Patrick looks like he’s making a grandstand play here. He would be much better off following Frank’s idea!

  5. It’s obvious that the law firms are angling to get some big class action suit going.

    I can’t really blame Keneally too much – if he doesn’t sign on to this, the suit will happen anyways and McHenry County won’t get its share of the free cheese.

    If there is a large settlement, drug prices will rise, the lawyers will get even richer, and the litigants will get a lot less money than they think they will.

    Hopefully Trump’s Justice Department won’t facilitate this suit the way Slick Willie’s Justice Department did with the tobacco lawsuits.

    Our tort system really sucks in this country.

  6. Vote for us because we care enough to do something, like waste millions
    of taxpayers dollars suing the big pharma industry, which will in the end,
    not prevent anyone from abusing opioids.

    What stupidity, what foolishness.

    It’s no wonder that people are fleeing Illinois by the tens of thousands every year.

  7. I agree with most of what is already posted.


    Who do we start looking at for State’s Attorney in two years?

  8. Pull up Youtube and watch the 60 minutes piece on Big Pharma and Opioids.

    The Washington Post did a piece too. This is a more than viable case.

    The average age of an American just dropped because of the Opioid crisis.

  9. One more step towards totally absolving people of responsibility for their own actions.

    How many of these “opioid deaths” they are using to support this move came as a result of doctors prescribing unnecessary drugs?

    Precious damn few, I suspect.

    If your doctor over prescribes and you wind up addicted, there are adequate legal remedies in place both civilly and criminally to address this.

    These morons who steal opioids for a new high deserve what they get.

    Suing the drug companies for this is like suing UPS or FEDEX because they deliver packages to peoples’ doorsteps setting up a situation where thieves can steal them.

  10. Lots of arm chair lawyers on this blog, all of which to have no clue what the lawsuit is actually about.

  11. Money for Mental Health & Rehabilitation.
    The Melania Trump Center.
    Make McHenry Great Again.

  12. Remember the tobacco lawsuits?

    The proceeds were supposed to be spent mitigating the damages caused by smoking.

    Cash is fungible.

    Most of it wound up being spent on other stuff.

    If this suit is successful, the same thing will happen.

  13. why are we chasing ridiculous and costly suits when we should be focused on our back yard criminals ??????

    if this man does not go after the miller clan and thoroughly investigate all accusations we need to vote this bum out!!!!!!!!

  14. I absolutely agree with frank, and clear eyes if this guy is willing to throw his career down the tubes for some misguided loyalty to the miller gang , so be it the same voters that voted pocketbook Bob out of office will surely vote him out, cut your ties now or suffer at the polls

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