INDIANAPOLIS -- The city of Indianapolis sued several manufacturers and distributors of prescription painkillers in federal court Tuesday, alleging that their actions are to blame for the city's growing opioid crisis.
The lawsuit contends that the "dramatic increase" in painkiller use in Indianapolis was caused by the companies' deceptive marketing and their "failure to identify, report and stop suspicious orders" of opioids. It also alleges the companies misled consumers and medical providers about the risks of painkillers.
Indianapolis' suit adds it to the growing list of states and government entities suing pharmaceutical companies over opioid addiction and abuse.
The complaint contends that the companies are driving addiction that last year killed 345 Marion County residents who succumbed to overdoses, The Indianapolis Star reported .
It seeks damages and reimbursement for past and future costs associated with responding to the opioid crisis, and alleges that the companies' conduct is forcing Marion County and Indianapolis to spend millions of dollars every year to help those afflicted by addiction.
Because of the high risk of addiction to opioids such as OxyContin, they should be used only for short-term needs after surgery or trauma and end-of-life care, the suit says, arguing that the companies did not market them as such and thereby created a false sense of safety for the products.
Purdue Pharma, Teva, Janssen, Endo, Allergan, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health are among the named defendants on the lawsuit.
Several companies previously denied any wrongdoing in written statements following Mayor Joe Hogsett's October announcement that the city had hired a law firm to pursue legal action against opioid makers and distributors.
"We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution," Purdue Pharma said at that time. "We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense."
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com