As he did to Toyota Motors in Torrance per our post earlier this month, Orange County’s District Attorney will now take on a collection of deep-pockets, perfectly legitimate American drug firms for their legal manufacture and “deceptive marketing” of FDA-approved painkillers.
Buried in both the OC Register and the LA Times last week were two stories:
OCR: O.C. D.A., Santa Clara County sue opioid makers for deaths. We noted the Register is even taking some credit for the suit, saying it was “filed after an extensive series of Register columns over three years blaming much of the epidemic on drug companies”.
Per the Times:
Two California counties sued five of the world’s largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation’s prescription drug epidemic by waging a “campaign of deception” aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin. Officials from Orange and Santa Clara counties — both hit hard by overdose deaths, emergency room visits and escalating medical costs associated with prescription narcotics — contend the drug makers violated California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance
… In Orange County, where the lawsuit alleges there is a painkiller-related death every other day, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said he decided to pursue the case “as a matter of public protection… Named in the suit are: Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Cephalon Inc.”
[We’re big fans of Suits, who once had an evening show on KFI and is a disabled vet. He’s excellent at uncovering local issues — better now than KFI’s John and Ken.]
T-Rack’s success in shaking down Toyota for $16 million made him a hero to the OC GOP and the Lincoln Club. Per the OCR, “half would go for gang suppression efforts; a quarter for the outside law firm’s fees and expenses; and the rest for his office’s prosecution-of-financial-crimes account, and to cover its own legal costs.” But his suit was considered in a number of press accounts and opinions to be well outside the scope of a county DA. None of the spoils apparently went to any individual or family in the OC, or to anyone else, who actually suffered as a result of Toyota’s vaguely-proven mechanical issues.
Clearly, this was a contrived opportunity for our 71 year-old, four-time elected DA to acquire funds for nebulous programs outside his budget, and without needing to go the Board of Supervisors for money. The DA’s arm-twisting of Toyota likely, we believe, contributed to Toyota’s decision to move their local headquarters and 2,000+ jobs to Texas and avoid any further
holdups suits by government officials who otherwise flunk at their primary duties — for instance, winning the prosecution of capital crimes as Rackauckas failed in the Kelly Thomas murder case (and even in prosecuting the third involved cop). We’ll see if Rackaukus can even get the death penalty for the already plead guilty Scott Dekraai who is charged in the worst mass killing in Orange County history. Corporations must be easier targets than a nut case who murdered nine men and women in cold blood. And you don’t even need a video of the crime in progress or a photo of the beaten victim.
This is a failure of leadership, and competence by a senior elected official — one who should have immediately retired on a great County pension and benefits after the Thomas debacle. If T-Rack had his head properly screwed on, he and his minions would be going after the local doctors who are over-prescribing Oxy and like products in the bogus “Campaign of Deception” — but there’s no money in that.
We also think it’s disingenuous that the DA believes the OC’s medical facilities are “hit hard by overdose deaths, emergency room visits and escalating medical costs associated with prescription narcotics”. We’d suggest he visit a few of our local ERs and count how many illegals are using these tax-supported services for primary care at no charge. He won’t be giving ICE a call, as reporting them isn’t his gig.
Like tobacco and alcoholic beverages, these drugs are legal products and, of course, the only reason to pursue manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson is that’s where the money and publicity is. This lawsuit will benefit no one except the DA who will be cashing the check.
Like Toyota, these drug manufacturers will see this a just a cost of doing business. They’ll settle with T-Rack for seven- or eight-figures, pass the costs onto their customers and once again, our government will have used their bottomless legal resources against private business to confiscate their property for no right, honorable or respectable reason.