Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have agreed to coordinate efforts in the State of Louisiana's litigation against opioid manufacturers.
Under this agreement, the Attorney General's office will take over primary responsibility for the suit filed by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) in the 19th Judicial District Court. Furthermore, the Attorney General's office will lead the efforts with other state agencies and departments to pursue all claims Louisiana has as a result of the opioid crisis.
"The opioid crisis is sweeping the nation; and this is due, in large part, to the drug companies that mislead physicians and the public," Governor Edwards said. "A coordinated effort from the State will produce the best results for the families who have lost loved ones to this epidemic. Justice for them is our number one priority."
"I am confident that the Attorney General's office will be able to pursue these claims vigorously and will hold the opioid manufacturers responsible for flooding our state with these highly addictive drugs and misleading the public about their addictive nature," Governor Edwards continued.
"The Opioid Epidemic is one of the most challenging and complex problems facing our State," General Landry said. "Tackling this problem will take a concerted effort on many fronts and joining together to coordinate this legal effort is in the best interest of the people of Louisiana."
"I thank the Governor for putting his faith in our office's leadership on this issue. We will work hard to hold drug companies accountable for contributing to the opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction that has destroyed so many Louisiana families," General Landry added.
In the aforementioned case, LDH is seeking damages and penalties for the amounts it has already paid for excessive opioid prescriptions and treatment costs as a result of those prescriptions. The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies engaged in fraudulent marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, which helped fuel Louisiana's opioid epidemic.
Louisiana joins dozens of other cities, counties, and states that have filed similar lawsuits in response to the alarming number of cases of opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths throughout the country.