Bureaucrats: will they listen to common sense ???

Local doctor/pharmacist request council reconsider drug suit


WILLIAMSON – A local pharmacist and physician approached the Williamson City Council at Thursday’s meeting to request that the city reconsider a recent decision to join litigation against wholesale pharmaceutical distribution companies.

The Williamson City Council voted in favor of joining the drug distribution suit at a special meeting held March 17, 2017. At that meeting, Williamson Councilman York Smith made a motion to obtain the law office of T. Chafin (Truman and Letitia Chafin) to represent the city of Williamson in a lawsuit against major wholesale pharmaceutical companies. The motion was seconded and passed with a vote of 3-0. Councilman Matthew Newsome was not present at the special meeting.

At Thursday’s regular meeting of the Williamson City Council, local pharmacist Nicole McNamee approached the council during public comment to request that the city reconsider the decision to join the lawsuit against drug companies.

“I am the owner of Hurley Drug in Williamson and I am here today to talk to you about the drug distribution lawsuit that the city has joined. I wanted to point out a few things that I think everybody needs to know. It will be detrimental to local businesses and health care providers in our city. I know that you all were told that it would not involve local businesses,” McNamee stated.

McNamee used current proceedings underway in McDowell County, W.Va. McDowell County was one of the first in many counties and municipalities that have joined litigation against drug distribution companies. “It is clear that the lawsuit would have to include all the people supply chain which would start with the manufacturers, the drug wholesalers who deliver to pharmacies and prescribers write the prescriptions and you have patients that get the prescriptions. It would have to involve all of those people to be able to show the full scope of the issue.”

McNamee concluded stating, “I am here to ask you all to reconsider joining the lawsuit because I think it will bring businesses and health care providers into this. We are the people that are in the City of Williamson right now. We pay Business and Occupation taxes (B and O) and we are active members of the community. The problems that we have had in the past are gone and the people that are left here are going to be the ones drug into this either right or wrong. I am asking you to reconsider your position on joining that lawsuit.”

Local physician Dr. Donovan (Dino) Beckett also spoke to the Williamson City Council. Beckett’s comments to council were made after the regular meeting had adjourned. At that time, a council member noticed Beckett in the audience, apologized for failing to call on him and asked if he would like to speak. Beckett also requested that the council reconsider their decision to join the drug distribution lawsuit.

“Business owners will have to hire attorneys and incur a lot of legal costs for things that will be detrimental for the image of the city and the potential of out of pocket cost for legal fees. When you are trying to make ends meet and then you have to deal with something of that nature, that is not going to anything for B and O takes for businesses that are in existence now that we are going to be able to create over a five year period. We would like the council to take that into consideration when looking at that possibility,” Beckett stated.

Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton responded stating, “We are looking at that. We have received information and council will eventually address that in an executive session. I do want to say how much we respect what both of you (Beckett and McNamee) do for the city. Keep up the good work; especially all the nonprofit stuff you are doing,” Carlton said.

Beckett thanked Carlton and stated, “Well, we need some for profit things too.”

The Williamson City Council meets on the second and fourth Thursday each month at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Williamson City Hall.

Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at charrison@civitasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.

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