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Opioid makers’ latest legal woe: West Virginia handyman

October 9, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A small home-improvement company in West Virginia is taking on the nation’s opioid giants in a lawsuit blaming the drugmakers for a rise in insurance costs.

The handymen at Al Marino Inc. filed the federal class-action suit last week in U.S. District Court against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and a host of other companies.

The case claims the drug businesses created a public health crisis that increased the need for expensive medical treatments, leading to skyrocketing health insurance costs in West Virginia. It seeks unspecified damages.

Purdue and Johnson & Johnson didn’t return emailed requests for comment.

Al Marino Inc. serves six counties in southern West Virginia with plumbing, electrical and other general home-improvement work.

The lawsuit is one of thousands seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for an opioid crisis that has killed more than 400,000 people over the past two decades. A potentially multibillion-dollar settlement deal involving more than 2,600 suits against Purdue is being hashed out in bankruptcy court.

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