Wichita, Kansas Opioid Attorneys: PHP Addresses Opioid Crisis With Multimillion-Dollar Federal Lawsuit
In December 2017, the attorneys at PHP Law Firm filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Sedgwick County against the manufacturers of more than 20 drug manufacturers and distributors, including Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three largest drug wholesalers: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and the McKesson Corporation.
“The national opioid epidemic is getting worse rather than better, including in Sedgwick County,” said Founding Attorney Bradley Prochaska of Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska (PHP) Law Firm in Wichita, Kansas. “It is time for someone to step up to the plate.”
Sedgwick County is seeking millions of dollars in compensation to recoup some of the direct costs of the opioid crisis, such as responding to overdose emergencies and providing treatment for addicts. The suit also seeks to address the indirect costs of the opioid crisis such as training and equipment as well as care and social services for affected children and families.
The opioid crisis is the deadliest drug epidemic in United States history, claiming more than 200,000 lives in the past decade and continuing to rise each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sedgwick County’s opioid prescription rate is 33 percent higher than the national average and Kansas is currently ranked as the sixteenth worst state in the country. COMCARE of Sedgwick County had to allocate 16 percent of its funding to heroin and opioid addiction in 2017 compared to 10 percent in 2016.
This lawsuit accuses the defendants of fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering in regards to prescription painkillers like Loritab, OxyContin, and fentanyl. All these medications are derived from opium poppies – the same active ingredient in heroin.
Although Sedgwick County is the first county to take such action within Kansas, a handful of other states and dozens of local governments have already sued over addiction costs, and PHP Law Firm hopes other Kansas counties will soon follow. Sedgwick County’s lawsuit will be combined with federal litigation in Ohio.
PHP Law Firm has a team of 28 people working on the case, which it expects to take several years. The lawsuit will not cost the county or taxpayers anything because the Firm is working on contingency, meaning they will only receive payment if the county wins the lawsuit.