City of Ed­mond sues opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, dis­trib­u­tors

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY RANDY EL­LIS Staff Writer rel­[email protected]­la­

The city of Ed­mond is ac­cus­ing opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­trib­u­tors of par­tic­i­pat­ing in a “civil con­spir­acy” in the mar­ket­ing of their pow­er­ful painkilling drugs in a law­suit filed Thurs­day in Ok­la­homa County District Court.

“Many Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing res­i­dents of Ed­mond, are now ad­dicted to pre­scrip­tion opi­oids and the num­ber of deaths due to pre­scrip­tion opi­oid over­dose has reached epi­demic lev­els,” the law­suit states. “Ap­prox­i­mately 175 Amer­i­cans are cur­rently dy­ing ev­ery day as a re­sult of opi­oid re­lated over­doses . ... Ed­mond had 10 or more over­dose deaths in 2017.”

In many re­spects, the law­suit is sim­i­lar to law­suits that hun­dreds of cities, coun­ties and states have filed against var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions of opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, dis­trib­u­tors and pre­scribers since opi­oid ad­dic­tion has reached epi­demic lev­els in re­cent years.

Ed­mond’s law­suit lists 38 de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing 22 opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, 11 dis­trib­u­tors and five physi­cians. The physi­cians were ac­cused of ei­ther over pre­scrib­ing the drugs or ac­cept­ing money from the man­u­fac­tur­ers to tout their ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits in con­trol­ling longterm chronic pain while down­play­ing the risks of ad­dic­tion.

Like many of the other law­suits, the Ed­mond law­suit ac­cuses opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers of mak­ing bil­lions of dol­lars by us­ing “false, de­cep­tive and un­fair mar­ket­ing” tech­niques that over­stated the ben­e­fits of opi­oids in treat­ing chronic pain while they un­der­stated the risks.

The law­suit ac­cuses the dis­trib­u­tors of neg­li­gently fail­ing to “con­trol the flow of opi­oids to Ed­mond through il­licit chan­nels.”

The law­suit blames the opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, dis­trib­u­tors and doc­tors for in­creas­ing Ed­mond’s cost of law en­force­ment, emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices, med­i­cal in­sur­ance and work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments.

The dol­lar amount of dam­ages the city is seek­ing is not spec­i­fied.

Ed­mond is rep­re­sented in the law­suit by McAfee & Taft and the Ful­mer Sill Law Group.

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