City of Edmond sues opioid manufacturers, distributors
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.