12/29/2005

Widow of slain trooper sues makers, sellers of meth ingredient

Chad Previch, Staff Writer
The Daily Oklahoman

WALTERS — The widow of a slain trooper filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against those who make and/or sell pseudoephedrine.

Linda Green claims in the Cotton County lawsuit that drug companies and suppliers — including Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Walgreen, Dollar General and United Supermarkets — knew methamphetamine addicts were buying the drug to get high and not to treat a cold.

She also charges makers knew how to make the pseudoephedrine tablets without allowing drug addicts to extract the ingredients needed to make methamphetamine.

“The reason for filing this suit is to hold those people accountable for what they’ve done, not just to Nik Green and his family (but for) every other person in the United States who’s been impacted,” said Gary James, an Oklahoma City attorney representing Linda Green.

The suit also names Ricky Ray Malone, who was convicted of murdering Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Nikky Joe Green. Malone was high on methamphetamine during the December 2003 shooting. A mobile methamphetamine lab was found in Malone’s car.

A spokesman for Walgreen said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. A message to Pfizer was not returned. Dan Fogleman, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company implemented a voluntary sales limitation policy in February 1997 of over-the-counter cold products.

“Wal-Mart supports efforts to curb the problem of methamphetamine,” he said. “This is an issue that affects the country, and we want to do our part to help.”

Linda Green declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.

Also named as defendants in the suit are Leiner Health Products, LNK International, Perrigo, Chain Drug Marketing Association, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and R&S Drug Stores

James said the stores were named because Malone purchased cold medications there. The suit states companies enjoyed increases in cold medication sales at the same time methamphetamine became popular.

“However, instead of taking responsible steps to stop or alleviate the individual and societal damage caused by the illegal use of their products, the Product Dealers chose to increase production and sales to exploit profits created by the skewed demand for pseudoephedrine,” the suit states.

James said the companies have made up to $60 billion in cold medication sales.

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