Arkansas Files "Unprecedented" Lawsuit Against Opioid Drug Industry

Mar 22, 2018
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors
The state of Arkansas, Arkansas counties, and Arkansas cities have filed a lawsuit against the opioid drug industry in the Circuit Court of Crittenden County. The unique litigation will represent 90 percent of Arkansas's population, with 72 counties and 210 cities participating. 
 
"Though other lawsuits have been filed in federal courts across the country, Arkansas is the only state that has united in this fashion," said Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties. Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, commented: "Arkansas's one-voice approach to this lawsuit is one that gives us a seat at the table. Neither the state or any county or city is big enough alone; this litigation approach ensures that recovered damages remain in Arkansas."
 
Arkansas reportedly experiences over 400 fatal overdoses a year, a number that has increased nearly 300 percent since 2000 and "coincides with opioid sales quadrupling". The state ranks second in the nation for ages 12-17 in misuse of opioids (4.67%) behind Alabama, which is the only other state with a higher opioid prescribing rate than Arkansas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to PRNewswire, "Arkansas, its counties, cities and taxpayers have funded the enormous societal costs of the opioid epidemic, but have had insufficient revenue to turn the tide of the epidemic".
 
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