NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City on Tuesday sued eight companies that make or distribute prescription opioids, blaming them for a deadly epidemic afflicting the most populous U.S. city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the lawsuit seeks $500 million of damages to help fight the epidemic in the city, which kills more people annually than homicides and car accidents combined, including more than 1,100 from opioid-induced overdoses in 2016.
The defendants include the manufacturers Allergan Plc (AGN.N), Endo International Plc (ENDP.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), Purdue Pharma LP and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA), and the distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N), Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N) and McKesson Corp (MCK.N).
In a 256-page complaint filed in a state court in Manhattan, New York accused manufacturers of having for two decades misled consumers into believing that prescription opioids were safe to treat chronic non-cancer pain with minimal risk of addiction.
The city also accused distributors of fueling the abuse by failing to control the distribution of opioids, including by not identifying suspicious orders and reporting them to authorities.
Endo and Purdue denied the city’s allegations and McKesson declined to comment on the lawsuit. They and AmerisourceBergen emphasized the importance of fighting opioid abuse. The other defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Tom Brown and Marguerita Choy
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