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SEARHC Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors for Causing the Opioid Crisis

Juneau – Today, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) filed a complaint against several opioid manufacturers and distributors in light of their roles in causing the opioid epidemic, which has had a devastating impact on Alaska Natives and the communities served by SEARHC throughout Southeast Alaska. The Defendants’ unlawful marketing, sales, and distribution of prescription opioids have resulted in the diversion, misuse, and overdose of these dangerously addictive drugs throughout the U.S. and in our communities.

This litigation follows a lawsuit filed in October 2017 by the State of Alaska against Purdue Pharma, a pharmaceutical company that makes the drug OxyContin, and its subsidiaries. The State’s complaint points to the company’s use of “ongoing, fraudulent marketing” of OxyContin and other opioid drugs, leading to the over-prescribing of opioids, an inflated opioid market and widespread misuse of the drugs, ultimately leading to Alaska’s opioid crisis. The lawsuit filed by SEARHC names Purdue as well as other opioid manufacturers that have engaged in similar and widespread improper marketing campaigns, as well as distributors of the drugs who failed to take necessary precautions to prevent opioid diversion. The complaint alleges that these entities pursued corporate profits over compliance with their legal and ethical duties in light of the known danger posed by their opioid products.

SEARHC filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, District of Alaska.  

The following may be attributed to SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Clement:

“The growing magnitude of this problem is devastating, and it must be addressed. As a healthcare organization representing 15 Alaska Native communities, we will not sit idly by watching this crisis continue to escalate, harming our communities.”

“We align with the State of Alaska in holding pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors accountable for their actions in creating the opioid epidemic.”

“In filing this lawsuit today, we are taking a stand on behalf of the patients and communities we serve, who deserve better.”

For more information, a copy of the lawsuit is available through Geoffrey Strommer, (503) 242-1745 (gstrommer@hobbsstraus.com).