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Supervisors Consider Opioid Litigation, Decline Resolution from ISAC

Posted: Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 6:25 am

The Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) executive board has asked each of Iowa’s 99 counties to sign a resolution on a lawsuit regarding opioids.

Washington County Auditor Dan Widmer explains the lawsuit, “In order to present a unified front at the federal level it’s a lawsuit to hold … certain pharmaceutical firms responsible for damages to the public in misrepresenting the safety of using opioids.” County Attorney John Gish said there are two firms leading the class action lawsuit and they’re based out of New York and Wisconsin. Supervisor Jack Seward did not agree with the measure because 25% of any settlement will go to the attorneys, and the cost of the services for litigation will come from the remaining 75%.

Supervisor chairman Richard Young agreed, “If we’re going to have a lawsuit I think this money needs to go towards educations of physicians, education of the public, and things like that, and not all go to a couple of law firms. And I don’t see anything mentioned, unless I overread it, about education of the public or anything else, or educating patients when they get those medications. So, I just have a problem with the way it’s written, also. I think it’s a good idea, it’s just the way this is being presented, to me, is a problem.”

Supervisor Abe Miller said this isn’t a solution to the overuse of opioids, “I just don’t see where any part of that is attacking the problem whatsoever. They’re not solving the problem.”

The board took no formal action on the litigation; instead Seward will be writing a letter to ISAC explaining Washington County’s decision to not support it.