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Harris County Fights To Keep Opioid Lawsuit In Texas Courts

“This same tactic was attempted unsuccessfully in Hopkins County, Texas, where it was summarily dismissed by the federal court to which it was removed,” Ryan explained, in a statement. “We will fight for the same right for Harris County.”

Lawyers for Harris County say pharmaceuticals should bare the cost of health care and judicial ramifications resulting from opioid abuse.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said he is trying to keep Harris County’s opioid lawsuit a state district court.

As we’ve been reporting, Harris County filed the lawsuit against 21 drug manufacturers and distributors, four doctors and one pharmacist because of their alleged roles in the so-called “opioid epidemic,” in December.

And now, County Attorney Vince Ryan is opposing an effort by three drug distributors—McKesson Corporation, Amerisource Bergen and Cardinal—to move the lawsuit to a federal court in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Harris County residents deserve justice in their own court," said Ryan, in an e-mailed statement. "Any delay such as that associated with transferring the case to Cleveland is unacceptable and imposes a burden upon the Harris County taxpayers." Ryan said he believes there will be “a substantial delay in proceedings,” if the case is moved to Ohio.

In various statements previously provided to News 88.7, several of the drug companies involved in the lawsuit have denied claims of wrongdoing.

Harris County’s lawsuit is similar to a slew of similar lawsuits against drug companies, nationwide. Lawyers for Harris County have claimed the trend is indicative of Big Pharma’s “tobacco moment.” The County Attorney’s office also said those in question should pay for costing “Harris County residents their health and even their lives and [costing] taxpayers millions to pay for healthcare and law enforcement.”

MORE: Pegi Block from the Harris County Attorney's office discusses the case on Houston Matters.

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