Indianapolis mayor announces plans for city opioid lawsuit

Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett at a Thursday press conference said the city of Indianapolis plans to sue drugmakers and distributors for their role the city's opioid crisis, according to IndyStar.

Indiana experienced 757 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016, up more than 250 deaths since 2015, according to state data.

"Opioids are killing Americans. Opioids are killing Hoosiers. Opioids are killing our neighbors right here throughout the city of Indianapolis," Mr. Hogsett said.

During the press conference, an attorney representing the city named three drugmakers — Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals — and three drug distributors —  Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp. and AmerisourceBergen — as probable defends in the lawsuit.

The drugmakers and a representative for the drug distributors provided statements to IndyStar.

"We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis, and we are dedicated to being part of the solution," said Purdue Pharma. "We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense."

Endo said its shares the Food and Drug Administration's goal of "appropriately supporting the needs of patients with chronic pain while preventing misuse and diversion of opioid products."

Teva Pharmaceuticals said it's "committed to the appropriate use of opioid medicines and recognize[s] 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."

John Parker, senior vice president of Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents the three distribution companies, told IndyStar, "We don't make medicines, market medicines, prescribe medicines or dispense them to consumers. Given our role, the idea that distributors are solely responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and how it is regulated."

More articles on opioids: 
1st Texas county files opioid lawsuit against drugmakers, distributors 
Co-prescribing gabapentin with opioid painkillers ups risk of overdose by 49% 
Opioid-related ED discharges dip in last decade, but heroin discharges rise

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