“It’s my belief that the best action for the County is to jump on board with these other counties and move forward by engaging with The Beckham Group for Opioid litigation,” states Freestone County District/County Attorney Brian Evans at the January 3, 2018 meeting of county commissioners.
During the December 20, 2017 meeting, Patrick McShan with the Dallas based law firm, The Beckham Group, presented an agreement to Commissioners, explaining that it is critical to enter into said agreement before the State of Texas begins any litigations against Pharmaceutical companies.
Commissioners had tabled the subject at this meeting, giving DA Evans a chance to look over the information and give his opinion prior to voting. Upon hearing his recommendation at the previous meeting, Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the acceptance of this agreement.
According to McShan, if the State of Texas chooses to go after pharmaceutical companies, all counties will receive some sort of settlement if the State wins; however, if the County does so prior to the State, the County will have control over the litigation and may receive even more funds with a settlement.
Declared an Emergency Health Crisis by President Donald Trump, the Opioid situation is a $79 Billion cost to counties and states; effecting medical costs, laws, and worker productivity.
Stats show that 31% of Americans are addicted to tobacco in some form, while 38% of Americans use prescription Opioids; which is proven to result in clinical addiction within a four-day period. A whopping 9,000 deaths per year are attributed to Opioid overdose; and 80% of heroin users start their drug use with an Opioid prescription.
McShan explains that the two most common claims used in litigation against the pharmaceutical companies are Public Nuisance and Violation of the Controlled Substance Act.
“Pharmaceutical companies have been pushing these drugs, knowing there is no valid reason to do so,” explains McShan.
Currently, the Beckham Group represents 26 counties. The agreement would require no up-front costs by the County. When a settlement is reached, the group would receive 30% and the County 70%. If the litigation is unsuccessful, the County is no worse for wear.
“I really think this is something the County should take advantage of,” concludes DA Evans.