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Indianapolis formally files lawsuit against distributors, manufacturers of opioids

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind..– Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett formally filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against nearly a dozen opioid manufacturers on behalf of the City of Indianapolis.

The lawsuit claims the companies are to blame for Indy’s growing opioid crisis, and failed to “identify, report and stop suspicious orders of medications.”

The drug manufacturers are also accused of deceptively marketing uses and risks of opioids.

The City says there were 345 drug overdoses in Marion County last year and points to the county’s high number of pharmacy robberies.

The full 171-page document can be found here. The suit aims to recover funds to address the overwhelming financial burden that the opioid crisis has placed on the city and county, according to Hogsett.

The manufacturer defendants are Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Noramco, Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt PLC, Allergan PLC, and Watson Pharmaceuticals. The lawsuit alleges these manufacturers deceptively marketed the appropriate uses, risks, and safety of opioids.

The opioid distributor defendants are AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., and McKesson Corporation.

The City says the defendants’ actions “resulted in hundreds of deaths, hundreds of babies born dependent on opioids, and a dramatic increase in the law enforcement, legal and social services that Marion County and Indianapolis provides for its residents.

“Last winter, we set Indianapolis on a course to comprehensively reform our criminal justice system,” said Mayor 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.”

In 2014, Indiana ranked 15th in the nation for overdose deaths with Marion County leading the state in OD deaths and non-fatal emergency room visits.