Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Sue Opioid Manufacturers And Distributors

8 pharmaceutical companies named in lawsuit over opioid epidemic

Robert Mangino
May 15, 2018 - 3:24 pm

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit against eight pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids Tuesday.

The suit seeks punitive and compensatory damages as well as a permanent injunction “injunction to keep the companies from engaging in the acts and practices that led to the opioid crisis,” according to a joint statement.

The companies listed as defendants include Purdue Pharma LP; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.;  Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Mallinckrodt, plc; Cardinal Health, Inc.; McKesson Corporation; and, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.

The lawsuit alleges the companies violated the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and “civilly conspired to increase their sales, revenues and profits” by negligently misrepresenting the benefits and risks associated with opioid pain management.

“It goes back to these manufacturers,” Allegheny County Solicitor Andrew Szefi told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Tuesday. “They misrepresented the addictiveness of these drugs; they said they weren’t addictive. That had consequences, it lead to addiction on a mass scale. That mass scale addiction had consequences … the government had to pay for a lot of those consequences.”

Allegheny County has higher opioid-related overdose rates higher than the state and country, according to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and Health Department. Over 1,000 Pittsburgh residents have died from opioids in the past eight years as rates continue to rise.

City and county officials also site the costs incurred by opioid addiction and the epidemic the lawsuit alleges the defendants fueled.

“Not only are we looking to recoup some of the expenditures that Allegheny County had, but we’re looking to turn off that spigot both in terms of cost to the county and cost to our communities and families,” Szefi said of the lawsuit’s attempt to limit the companies’ opioid creation and distribution abilities.

The suits were filed by County Solicitor Szefi and Acting City Solicitor Yvonne Hilton, in collaboration with Motley Rice LLC and its Pittsburgh counsel, Goldberg Persky White P.C.

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