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Mercer County exploring lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies

It's in order to recoup costs associated with the county's response to the drug epidemic

MERCER COUNTY, Pa (WKBN) - Mercer County has retained a law firm to explore potential litigation against major pharmaceutical companies.

Mercer County hired Scott+Scott, an international law firm with an office in the Cleveland area, according to a news release. It's in order to recoup costs associated with the county's response to the drug epidemic.

A lawsuit would likely name defendants such as Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Insys Therapeutics.

Mercer County isn't the first area to explore such a lawsuit.

Trumbull County also filed a lawsuit against companies that produce the pain medications. 

Scott+Scott has represented other municipalities in suits across the country, according to the news release.

The firm alleges that drug manufacturers systematically worked to deceive doctors and patients - including vulnerable groups such as the elderly and war veterans - about the highly addictive nature of prescription opioids. That, in turn, has led to the opiate epidemic, according to Scott+Scott.

"We applaud Mercer County Commissioners for taking the brave step to assess the damage wrought by the pharmaceutical industry on their constituents and residents," said David Scott, managing partner of Scott+Scott. "The opioid epidemic has consequences for everyone in this county, including patients, their families, and government services workers. No resident should see their tax dollars diverted to this crisis instead of schools, infrastructure, and public services. We expect to work closely with the Commissioners to assess the financial scope of the epidemic in Mercer County."

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