Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) and some other companies in the biopharma industry have found themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit after they were sued by Nassau County for the opioid epidemic.
Nassau County filed the lawsuit against the firms arguing that their prescription painkillers have played a key part in the opioid epidemic plaguing the county. According to the filing, the county spends millions of dollars every year trying to eliminate the problem. Some of the other companies that were sued alongside Teva include Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma. Doctors and distributors have also been mentioned as defendants in the lawsuit.
“We firmly believe the allegations in this lawsuit are both legally and factually unfounded,” stated a spokeswoman for Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
The companies claim to share in the concerns of the county
Purdue Pharma’s spokesman also released a statement saying that the company is just as concerned about the opioid situation in Nassau County. The spokesman also pointed out that the firm was willing to work together with public officials towards finding collaborative solutions. Teva also jumped on board with Purdue and announced that it was committed to the appropriate use of opioids.
Despite the claims about being in support of the county, legal representatives for Nassau stated that Long Island county had to invest in law enforcement and healthcare to protect its roughly 1.4 million residents due to the opioid addiction epidemic. The county has also been paying for training seminars focusing on the overdose antidote called naloxone. Why this means Teva is responsible is unclear.
Edward Mangano, a Nassau County Executive stated that the opioid epidemic has been a heavy burden, especially on taxpayers since millions of dollars have to go towards remedying the situation. Almost 500 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016 and more people have succumbed to the same in other counties. Nassau County thus sees the matter as very serious and is determined to take all the necessary measures towards ending the crisis. How suing the companies will help remedy the situation is unclear.
Teva stock closed the latest trading session at $30.44.