Sarasota mom who lost daughter to overdose reacts to lawsuit against opioid makers

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed the lawsuit
Posted at 10:10 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 09:03:29-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota mom says she is beyond thrilled to learn about a lawsuit against some of the nation's largest manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

The Office of the Attorney General filed the lawsuit on behalf of the state of Florida.

"I'm beyond thrilled. I think it's about time. I know it's a long process and there has been a lot of work leading up to this," said Lisa Brandy.

Brandy's daughter died from a prescription drug overdose in 2011.

18-year-old Brandi Shea Meshad kept a journal as she battled an addiction.

"She wrote about addiction. She said it's hard, complicated, ultimately a living hell. It's like swimming against a riptide," said Lisa Brandy as she read from her daughter's journal.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Tuesday that she filed a lawsuit against five of the largest manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

"We have one of the most comprehensive lawsuits in the country, in my opinion," said Attorney General Pam Bondi.

The lawsuit alleges companies misled patients about addictive drugs and ignored those ordering suspicious amounts.

"It's time for the defendants to pay for the pain and destruction they have caused," said Bondi.

The lawsuit was filed in Pasco County. According to the lawsuit, Pasco County is consistently ranked among the hardest hit areas in the state throughout the entirety of the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit said an average of more than 15 Floridians die every day from opioids. Opioids caused 5,725 deaths in Florida in 2016.

"According to our complaint, these distributors did not properly assess Florida customers to determine if their opioid orders were valid," said Bondi during a press conference.

Brandy said she hopes this lawsuit sparks change. Since her daughter's death in 2011, she started Brandi's Wish Foundation to raise awareness. The organization's mission is to educate and offer preventative solutions to teens and their families regarding the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse.

"I started Brandi's Wish cause I thought if I could help one family, if I could help save one young person, one mother or father from what I have to live with every day... that was my goal," said Brady.

For more information on Brandi's Wish click here.

One of the companies named in the lawsuit, Teva Pharmaceuticals, sent a statement to ABC Action News in response to the new allegations:

"Teva is committed to the appropriate use of opioid medicines, and we recognize the critical public health issues impacting communities across the U.S. as a result of illegal drug use as well as the misuse and abuse of opioids that are available legally by prescription. To that end, we take a multi-faceted approach to this complex issue;  we work to educate communities and healthcare providers on appropriate medicine use and prescribing, we comply closely with all relevant federal and state regulations regarding these medicines, and, through our R&D pipeline, we are developing non-opioid treatments that have the potential to bring relief to patients in chronic pain. Teva also collaborates closely with other stakeholders, including providers and prescribers, regulators, public health officials and patient advocates, to understand how to prevent prescription drug abuse without sacrificing patients’ needed access to pain medicine."