Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Takes Lead in Suing Major Drug Manufacturers and Distributors Over Opioid Epidemic
On January 26, 2018, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians filed suit in San Francisco against prescription drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies for their role in the opioid epidemic that has become a national crisis and devastated tribes.
For Coyote Valley, and the entire country, prescription opioids are deadlier and more devastating than any prescription drug or non-prescription drug, including heroin . In the lawsuit, Coyote Valley argues that it has suffered economic loss arising from the costs of providing medical care, counseling and rehabilitative services, welfare and foster care services, and the law enforcement and public safety needs that inevitably accompany the opioid epidemic. Indian tribes throughout the country are also seeing an alarming increase in their youth being impacted by opioid abuse, including infants born addicted to opioids and children removed from addicted parents.
“So far only six tribes have stepped up to take on Big Pharma and they are very large population tribes far off from California. I want every tribe and tribal health provider in the United States, big or small, to show Big Pharma that all tribal governments have been harmed and deserve to be compensated for their losses,” said Michael Hunter, Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. He went on to say, “enough is enough, I am proud to say we are the first tribe in the West to sue.”
In addition to holding major drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic, the Tribe hopes to be able to provide more resources for education, treatment, preventative services, and the Tribe’s public safety needs. “As soon as I learned that counties, cities and states were filing suit I tasked my legal counsel, Ceiba Legal, to evaluate our options. We decided to retain Beggs & Lane, Frazer, PLC and the Kuykendall Group to file suit on our behalf. Now I want to raise awareness among tribal leaders that there is a way to hold Big Pharma accountable. We can’t let others decide our fate for us,” said Chairman Hunter.
To view the full complaint CLICK HERE