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Medical professionals question Horry County lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies

(WPDE)

Horry County officials voted Tuesday to move forward with a mass action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry to end the opioid crisis. Some Horry County medical professionals believe that isn't the solution.

As the concerns surrounding the opioid crisis reach high levels in Horry County, doctors say this isn't a matter of playing the blame game.

"Others would like to blame the physicians, the physicians would like to blame the government, and everyone's kinda pointing their fingers at who really started this and made it as bad as it is," said Dr. Jon Pangia of Grand Strand Medical Center.

Leaders say there's no time for that.

"If we waste time doing that, we're wasting time and that's the message we have, I think, within the physician community is stop pointing fingers at other people and lets get engaged at fixing this," said Pangia.

Instead of pursuing the major pharmaceutical companies, he says they should look for solutions outside of the country and see what's working where opioid use isn't an issue.

"The trend that we're seeing is that pain is perceived and treated differently in those countries, whereas here, pain is perceived as an intolerance that nobody should have to suffer through," said Pangia.

Dale Todd, owner of Rivertown Pharmacy in Conway, believes there's a much bigger issue at stake here and it doesn't involve the pharmaceutical business.

"A lot of the times when the EMS responds to an overdose, it's not necessarily a narcotic opioid overdose, it's an overdose on the heroin," said Todd.

He said since drugs like heroin are cheaper and more readily available, that's where the focus should be. Not on the pharmaceuticals.

Todd said, "I don't think that they're to blame for the epidemic. They're just fulfilling orders that are being placed by pharmacies, that are being requested by doctors for their patients."

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