Local lawsuits against opioid manufacturers continue as NC Attorney General expresses frustration at Purdue Pharma deal

Purdue Pharma's response to opioid crisis not enough

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Reaction to the news, prescription giant Purdue Pharma made a $8 billion deal with the United States Department of Justice, did not go over well with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

“I’m not satisfied. I don’t think that the Sackler family is doing enough to pay for the damage that they have inflicted on people in our communities,” Stein said in an interview. “I think they need to pay more. That’s why I don’t embrace the deal that the US government just reached.”

Others on social media expressed the same displeasure—that considering the millions of lives lost or affected by the opioid crisis, $8 billion doesn’t even begin to cover the damage done.

However, the deal doesn’t spell the end of the line for drug companies accused of causing and exacerbating a wave of addiction to prescription pain medication.

“It’s just another domino,” said New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, “fitting with the overall narrative of the destruction this has caused.”

White, as a citizen not an attorney, represented New Hanover County in October 2019, when a federal judge in Ohio gathered attorneys for hundreds of local governments and those of the pharmaceutical companies they’ve sued.

Those cases are still going through the court process, White said, and have seen motions filed, discovery made and evidence presented, but there is still a long road ahead.

The Purdue deal won’t have any material effect on New Hanover County’s case, nor that of the City of Wilmington, White said, but he believes it does show the momentum continuing to move against the drug companies.

Stein shared that overall sentiment.

“We’re working hard to try to bring a resolution to this matter, that would end up bringing back hundreds of millions of dollars to North Carolina and to local communities. You know—Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greenville—all these places that have really been hurting, they need...they need help to deal with the crisis, because there are people in our communities [who are] absolutely struggling and devastated with opioid addiction.”

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