Missouri counties, city file suit over ‘opioid epidemic’ costs

Ten Missouri counties and the city of Joplin are suing dozens of manufacturers and other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, seeking reimbursement for the cost of fighting the “opioid epidemic.”

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court by lawyers from across the state, says manufacturers and distributors willfully misled the public and medical community over opioid use regarding long-term, chronic pain in order to increase profit. It also says certain companies, clinics and doctors failed to report suspicious orders to state and federal enforcement agencies.

The suit accuses 49 defendants, including St. Louis County-based Express Scripts, Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical, Johnson & Johnson, Walgreens and CVS of public nuisance, negligence, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

Wednesday’s suit mirrors similar suits filed by local and state officials in recent years against drug companies and others.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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