NYC files opioid lawsuit against 8 drugmakers, distributors

Attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of New York City against five drugmakers, three drug distributors and subsidiaries of the companies.

The lawsuit seeks to recoup half a billion dollars in both current and future city funds expended addressing the municipality's opioid crisis. The suit is similar to others filed by hundreds of city, local and state governments around the nation. New York City's lawsuit claims drugmakers and drug distributors misrepresented the safety of long-term opioid use, thereby facilitating widespread proliferation of the drugs.

"More New Yorkers have died from opioid overdoses than car crashes and homicides combined in recent years," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Big pharma helped to fuel this epidemic by deceptively peddling these dangerous drugs and hooking millions of Americans in exchange for profit. It's time [to] hold the companies accountable for what they've done to our city and help save more lives."

The suit names drugmakers Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Endo International, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries as defendants. The suit also names the drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

In statements made to Reuters, Allergan, Endo, J&J, Purdue, Teva, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson all highlighted the importance of safe opioid use. Additionally, Endo, J&J and Purdue denied the suit's allegations. McKesson declined to comment on the lawsuit specifically, and Cardinal Health did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

In 2016, more than 1,000 people in New York City died of an opioid-related overdose.

More articles on opioids:
One in seven nursing home residents receive long-term opioids prescriptions 
West Virginia cuts controlled substance dispensation by 31M pills — overdoses still rise 
HHS renews emergency designation for opioid crisis: 4 things to know

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