MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee District Attorney is vowing to carry out a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma regardless of its recent bankruptcy filing.
Altogether, 47 counties and 14 District Attorney Generals across the state of Tennessee are suing Purdue Pharma under the Drug Dealer Liability Act (DDLA), for their role in the opioid crisis.
“This is unprecedented really where we are seeking to label drug manufacturers as drug dealers under our DDLA and the decision from the court of appeals saying we could do that is a substantial victory,” said Eighth District Attorney General, Jared Effler. “It is big and I think that speaks volumes to the solidarity in that district attorneys are stepping up and doing everything we can to address this problem.”
Effler says Purdue’s recent filing for bankruptcy will not impact the suit.
“We were not surprised, we had been expecting it and our attorneys were very prepared and we are pursuing them in bankruptcy court and we will pursue them whether it’s in the circuit court of this district or in the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York,” Effler said. “District attorneys believe that Big Pharma is responsible for creating and sustaining our opioid epidemic.”
According to Effler, two counties in his district rank among the top 10 in America for the number of opioid prescriptions per capita.
“Even though we have two of the top counties in America for the number of opioid prescriptions per capita – it’s sad that we do not have one inpatient facility in any of our counties,” said Effler. “There’s simply a lack of treatment, a lack of prevention, a lack of education and hopefully we can take some of those monies we recoup and put back into our communities where the damage has been caused.”
Effler and the other 13 district attorneys are filing the suit independent of State Attorney Generals and others to ensure money collected would come back to the 47 counties – where the damage has been caused – and not end up in Nashville.
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