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Terre Haute, Indy Join Cities Suing Opioid Distributors

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Photo: Ronan (Flickr)

Numerous Indiana cities and counties have sued pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Terre Haute and Indianapolis are joining other Indiana cities in filing a lawsuit against opioid distributors and manufacturers.

Terre Haute’s legal department is still working to determine who the defendants of the complaint will be before Indianapolis-based law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister files the lawsuit on Terre Haute’s behalf.

Terre Haute City Attorney Eddie Felling says a municipality isn’t a traditional plaintiff in a case like this, but the opioid epidemic has huge costs to first responders in the city, and that’s leading to concerns about public safety.

“Anything we can do to help make sure that individuals and corporations are held accountable, obviously, we want to do that to ensure that safety of everyone that lives here,” Felling says.

Scott County and the city of Muncie filed lawsuits against opioid distributors and manufacturers earlier this year.

Scott County named Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals as defendants in the lawsuit. Muncie’s suit is against Cardinal Health, Amerisores Bergen and McKesson.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced last month that the city would pursue legal action against several companies, including Purdue Pharma, Teva, Jannsen and Endo Pharmaceuticals. The city filed that lawsuit Tuesday.

Indianapolis’ federal lawsuit says the “dramatic increase” in prescription 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 contends that the companies misled “consumers and medical providers” about the risks of painkillers.

The Indianapolis Star reports the suit alleges that the companies’ conduct is forcing Indianapolis and Marion County to spend millions of dollars every year to help those afflicted by addiction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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