Opioid lawsuit hearing in Gwinnett County

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A Gwinnett County judge will soon decide whether a lawsuit filed by the State of Georgia against a collection of pharmaceutical companies can move forward.

The Attorney General's Office filed the suit on January 3 "to seek justice for the catastrophic effects of [the opioid] crisis on the State and its citizens."  The state seeks damages and injunctive relief from what attorneys describe as "deceptive and illegal marketing of opioids." 

"From coast to coast these defendants have dumped billions of pills on this nation, causing what has been described as manmade plague 20 years in the making," said attorney Parker Miller, who is part of the state's legal team.  "Unfortunately, Georgia was not lucky enough to survive that." 

The lawsuit specifically names Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Endo Health Solutions and several others that manufacture, distribute or market prescription opioids.  Attorneys for those companies filed motions to dismiss the case. 

Monday, Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Randolph Rich heard arguments from both sides on those motions.

"These are lawful medications that millions of people have taken with no issues at all," said Richard Gallagher, who addressed the court on behalf of the drug manufacturers.  "It's true other people have taken it and suffered addiction and all the other issues that we're going to be talking about, but these were medications that were good, that were lawful, that were allowed to be sold." 

The hearing lasted nearly five hours and Judge Rich said he will review the motions and the arguments and make a decision in about two weeks.