Winchester May Join Drug Industry Lawsuit

The City of Winchester may join Alexandria and Dickenson County as another Virginia locality suing the pharmaceutical industry for its alleged role in creating a nationwide opioid epidemic.

This is after a council meeting Tuesday, during which a representative from the New York based Sanford Heisler Sharp law firm explained the case his firm and two others are making. Sanford Heisler Sharp associate Andrew Miller outlined the alleged offenses; they include drug manufacturers lying about the effectiveness of their pain medicine as well as their addiction risks, drug distributors failing to properly track large pharmaceutical sales, and pharmacy managers being incentivized by opioid manufacturers to sell more. So far, the three firms have launched a $100 million lawsuit on behalf of Alexandria and a $30 million lawsuit on behalf of Dickenson County; Miller claimed Tuesday that 15 other localities are considering joining as well.

After Mayor David Smith expressed reservations about simply targeting companies for the chance of big money, Sanford Heisler Sharp partner Kevin Sharp volunteered to conduct a comprehensive test of narcotics’ financial impact on the city, and use it to suggest a specific dollar amount for a potential lawsuit. After private discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve this study, taking its first step towards possible participating in the war on big pharma.

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