Opioid Complaint Filed on behalf of Nassau County

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is proud to announce that it has filed a Complaint in Nassau County Supreme Court on behalf of Nassau County against pharmaceutical companies and doctors that aggressively marketed and distributed prescription opiates.

The litigation will be spearheaded by Paul J. NapoliSalvatore C. Badala, and Joseph L. Ciaccio. Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano stated,”Nassau County is seeking damages from drug manufacturers and doctors involved in the marketing and promotion of opioids.  Local governments such as the County of Nassau have spent millions of dollars in costs related to opioid addiction and abuse including health care costs, criminal justice and victimization and lost productivity.”

The Complaint alleges, “Nassau County spends millions of dollars each year to provide and pay for health care, services, pharmaceutical care and other necessary services and programs on behalf of residents of its County whom are indigent or otherwise eligible for services, including payments through services such as Medicaid for prescription opium painkillers (“opioids”) which are manufactured, marketed, promoted, sold, and/or distributed by the Defendants.”

The Complaint goes on to allege that “Defendants knew that opioids were effective treatments for short-term post-surgical and trauma-related pain, and for palliative (end-of-life) care. Yet they also knew–and had known for years–that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, particularly when used long-term for chronic non-cancer pain (pain lasting three months or longer, hereinafter referred to as “chronic pain”), and should there not be used except as a last-resort. Defendants further knew–and had known for years–that with prolonged use, the effectiveness of opioids wanes, requiring increases in doses and markedly increasing the risk of significant side effects and addiction.”

Badala spoke with the New York Daily News regarding the Nassau County lawsuit and the national opioid epidemic. He pointed out that the abuse of prescription pain medications like Oxycodone and Percocet can often lead to the use of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug.

“The legal battle could take years but lead attorney Badala said, “…these pharmaceutical companies are profiting hand over fist. We’re talking about a billion-dollar industry.” He added, “We’re in this for the long haul, and so is the county. We’re going to fight hard until the end.”

Nassau County and another Long Island County, Suffolk, reported 493 opioid overdoses in 2016. Nassau reported fatalities linked to fentanyl almost tripled from the previous year. These record numbers could have been much higher if not for the 1000+ lives saved by first responders who treated overdose victims with the life-saving antidote, naloxone. Nassau County decided to take action and county legislators voted last month to file the lawsuit.

As Mr. Mangano stated, “The opioid crisis is costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year and this action seeks to recoup dollars for important awareness, education, enforcement and treatment initiatives to combat the war on drug abuse and addiction.”

Expenses incurred by the growing drug problem include: naloxone training, rehabilitation programs, police overtime and the hiring of additional police officers.