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Indianapolis files federal lawsuit against opioid distributors, manufacturers amid crisis

Posted at 4:20 PM, Nov 14, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – The City of Indianapolis filed a federal lawsuit against several opioid distributors and manufacturers Tuesday as the state continues to fight a drug overdose crisis.

The 171-page lawsuit for Marion County by Cohen & Malad, LLP targets 10 companies including Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Cephalon and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It claims the companies were deceptive on how they marketed the drugs’ use, risk and safety.

Three distributors included in the lawsuit, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation, were said to have failed to report suspicious orders of opioids that ended up in Indianapolis. 

The lawsuit comes just more than a month after Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans to go after opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“Last winter, we set Indianapolis on a course to comprehensively reform our criminal justice system,” said Hogsett. “Throughout that process, we heard first-hand accounts of the devastation opioid abuse can wreck as it tears apart families and take the lives of Indianapolis residents. We must do all we can to combat this epidemic of addiction while holding those accountable who have contributed to this crisis and caused such a prolific drain on tax payer dollars.”

The city wants all manufacturers and distributors to pay for the financial burden the crisis has caused. 

“It’s time for the companies that profited to the tune of billions of dollars off opioids be held accountable for the severe harm they’ve caused Indianapolis and Marion County,” said Irwin Levin, managing partner of Cohen & Malad, LLP.   

Statistics show Marion County had the highest number of drug overdose deaths in its history at 345 in 2016. The county has also led the state in pharmacy robberies. 

"In 2014, nearly 200 infants were born in Marion County with neonatal abstinence syndrome (“NAS”), a group of problems that occur in newborns exposed to opioids in the mother’s womb," according to the lawsuit.

Not only is Indiana facing an overdose issue, in late October, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. 

The full lawsuit can be read below:




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