Bedford trial moved to California | News, Sports, Jobs


A Bedford County lawsuit seeking damages from a consulting firm that helped develop a plan to market OxyContin has been moved to California to be joined in at least 39 similar lawsuits.

Class-action documents on behalf of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and 2,561 municipalities were transferred last Monday from U.S. District Court in Johnstown to Northern California District Court in San Francisco.

The case will be referred to US District Judge Charles R. Breyer.

On June 7, the US Multidistrict Litigation Judicial Panel decided to consolidate the lawsuits against New York-based consulting firm McKinsey & Company Inc., which worked for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, and transferred 17 lawsuits. brought in several states in the District of Northern California. Search.

Since then, 22 other lawsuits have been transferred.

The lawsuits come from several states, counties and cities as well as several Native American tribes.

One of the leading Bedford County trial attorneys, Barry Scatton, a native of Bedford County and a member of the Morgan and Morgan Complex Litigation Group in Philadelphia, said transferring lawsuits of a similar nature to a single court is one way to handle the dispute. in an organized manner.

The Bedford County lawsuit was filed on June 10 at the Bedford County Courthouse, but was later transferred to Johnstown Federal Court.

The lawsuit covers a period after 2007, when The Purdue Frederick Co., the parent organization of Purdue Pharma LP, pleaded guilty to using a fraudulent marketing campaign which the lawsuit found to promote OxyContin as “Less addictive, less prone to abuse and less likely to induce withdrawal” than other opioids.

The company has agreed to obtain an independent reviewer of its marketing strategy and to submit an annual compliance report to the US Department of Health Inspector General. While cases of OxyContin abuse initially declined, the company reportedly teamed up with McKinsey, described as a global management consulting firm, to increase OxyContin sales.

Bedford County lawsuit accuses Purdue, together with McKinsey, of investing “Hundreds of millions of dollars” in a campaign to boost sales.

Within five years of signing the deal, sales of OxyContin have tripled and the lawsuit said: “McKinsey is responsible for the strategy that made it possible to achieve this goal.”

The result of McKinsey’s strategy, it is claimed, was “One last spasm in OxyContin sales before the drug’s inevitable decline.”

In 2018, Purdue no longer marketed OxyContin, and in 2019, McKinsey said it no longer worked for any opioid manufacturer, noting, “Opioid abuse and dependence have a tragic and devastating impact on our communities. “

The civil lawsuit lists several counts against McKinsey, including: negligence, for encouraging the overprescription of OxyContin; gross negligence, for insisting on the oversupply of pain relievers; misrepresentation through negligence and fraud, for providing false information to healthcare providers and causing public nuisance, which addresses thousands of deaths and devastation in communities in Pennsylvania caused by opioid abuse.

Scatton said he couldn’t predict how long it would take to resolve the McKinsey lawsuit, but he pointed out that the California judge overseeing the cases was experienced in opioid-related litigation.

The lawsuit does not ask for any specific amount of damages, but wants the compensation received to cover medical care for people suffering from drug addiction, the care of children whose parents suffer from a disability and related incapacity. opioids, the costs of the drug epidemic associated with the law. law enforcement and associated with drug courts and other resources within the justice system.

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