The Marathon County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide Thursday whether to join a proposed lawsuit that aims to fight back against the growing opioid crisis.
The board will first hear a presentation from lawyers representing several Wisconsin counties about the lawsuit. The presentation is expected to argue that pharmaceutical companies continue to market potentially harmful opioid medications as safe for treating chronic pain, despite understanding their potential harmful effects.
The resolution, if approved, will state that the National Institute for Health has identified the manufacturers of some opioid medications as being directly responsible for the rapid rise of the growing epidemic “by virtue of their aggressive and, according to some, unlawful and unethical marketing practices,” according to the packet of materials being considered tonight.
The resolution also states that the county has spent millions in unexpected and unbudgeted time and resources in combating the opioid epidemic, all of which has a direct impact on local taxpayers.
The county’s Health and Human Services Committee earlier this week recommended joining the lawsuit, which is being compared to tobacco settlement lawsuits in the 1990s.