More Indiana cities file lawsuits against distributors, manufacturers amid opioid crisis

More Indiana cities and counties are joining Indianapolis, Bloomington, Lake County, and Monroe County in pursuing legal action against opioid distributors and manufacturers as the state deals with an ongoing drug crisis.

The cities of Noblesville and Greenwood, as well as Harrison and Vigo Counties, filed lawsuits against defendants Purdue Pharma, Endo Health, Teva and distributors such as AmerisourceBergen, McKesson Corporation and Cardinal Health, among others.

According to their lawsuits, the opioid crisis was foreseeable and a direct result of their “intentional choice to pump opioids” into the community “in violation of state and federal law.”

According to the lawsuit filed by the city of Noblesville: “The manufacturers aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction. These pharmaceutical companies aggressively advertised to and persuaded doctors to prescribe highly addictive, dangerous opioids, turned patients into drug addicts for their own corporate profit.”

According to the lawsuits, the cities / counties took a financial hit due to the increased costs associated with law enforcement and public safety; providing care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability; medical care for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction; and costs for rehabilitation services.

Indianapolis attorney Irwin Levin said 75 to 100 similar lawsuits have been filed across the country, some of which have been successfully litigated.

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance represents the three distribution companies and says the distributors are not to blame. “We don’t make medicines, market medicines, prescribe medicines, or dispense them to consumers. Given our role, the idea that distributors are solely responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and how it is regulated,” said Senior Vice President John Parker.