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Michigan cities sue drug manufacturers, pharmacies over opioid epidemic
Multiple Michigan cities and counties announced a lawsuit filed against ... the destruction of countless families and homes, and the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of addicts who have turned to crime in order to support their chemical addictions.
By Gus Burns
Multiple Michigan cities and counties announced a lawsuit filed against some of the largest drug makers and pharmacies in the world Tuesday, Dec19.
They claim these companies are not only heavily responsible for the vast number of drug overdose deaths -- nearly 53,000 in 2015 and 64,000 in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control -- but immense secondary costs related to such as addiction treatment, ongoing health issues, child care and law enforcement.
Now the Michigan communities are asking a federal judge to force the drug manufacturers and pharmacies to pay.
The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, several other drug makers, and large pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Costco.
It equates the distribution systems created by the drug manufacturers and pharmacies to a "pattern of racketeering."
The 152-page lawsuit opens:
The use of highly addictive narcotic drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, fentanyl, codeine and others (hereinafter, "opioids") has become a national epidemic of chemical addiction in the United StatesAcross the country, Americans are addicted to prescription drugs, synthetic opioids, and heroin at levels unprecedented in U.ShistoryThe opioid epidemic has led to carnage and devastation--including the loss of over 33,000 lives annually, the destruction of countless families and homes, and the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of addicts who have turned to crime in order to support their chemical addictionsThe United States comprises less than 5 percent of the world's population, but consumes over 80 percent of the world's opioid products.
The following cities and counties are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but others may be added at a later date: Detroit, Genesee, Grand Traverse County, Macomb County, ,Saginaw , Delta County, Chippewa County, Lansing and Escanaba.
The lawsuit notes that opioid overdose deaths are more prevalent than deaths by firearms or motor vehicle crashes.
"Opioids -- profligately sold to treat virtually any ailment -- have destroyed the lives of countless men and women who had the misfortune of suffering from back pain, arthritis, workplace injuries and a countless array of other relatively minor and term-limited painful conditions," the lawsuit says. As patients throughout the country became addicted to opioids, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of opioids similarly became addicted to the immense profits associated with the widespread consumption of opioidsMotivated by their own bottom lines, these corporate actors looked the other way -- or worse -- as the epidemic unfolded."
Noting the increasing profits drug companies have reaped, the lawsuit cites the sales of Oxycontin, a highly addictive pain pill manufactured by Purdue Pharma, which has generated near $3 billion a year for the company, up significantly from the estimated $800 million a year the drug generated in 2006.
The lawsuit claims the targeted companies knew the potential damage of the drugs, but continuously used deceptive advertising and turned a blind eye to "suspicious orders" that included massive amounts of opioids.
The lawsuit asks the court to force the defendants to report suspicious orders of drugs, award damages for opioid-related deaths, treatment, medial and therapeutic care; as well as law enforcement costs incurred, both present and future.
Read the full lawsuit here:
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