Two Michigan counties sue drug companies over skyrocketing opioid deaths

Brooks Patterson announced the lawsuit in a Thursday press conference, accusing the drug companies of shifting the way doctors and patients view pain treatment in order to encourage widespread opioid prescription, leading to the rise in opioid-related deaths in MI.

Brooks Patterson today announced a joint lawsuit against multiple drug manufacturers and distributors alleging the deceptive marketing and sale of opioids - a risky, highly addictive and often lethal class of painkillers, including OxyContin and Fentanyl.

"This is a full-blown health crisis from which the drug companies made billions", Evans said. "People are dying and lives are being ruined by addiction as this awful tragedy unfolds".

Opioids are a highly addictive and sometimes lethal class of painkillers, including OxyContin and Fentanyl.

The complaint alleges that defendants, including McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health which are each among the top 15 companies in the Fortune 500, have reaped tremendous profits from these practices.

Patterson noted pharmaceutical companies generated $11 billion of revenue in 2011 from sales alone.

According to NPR, President Trump's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis had recommended in an interim report released July 31 that Trump immediately declare a national emergency, citing an overdose death rate of 142 a day. In August, Gov. Rick Snyder established the Council on Opioid and Prescription Drug Enforcement after signing an executive directive aimed at combating the opioid crisis in MI.

The Miller Law Firm PC and Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd LLP are representing the counties in the suit. "And we think some compensation is necessary for bad behavior".

Lead Counsel E. Powell Miller said at the news conference that there are more than 100 similar lawsuits across the country right now, but this one is among the first targeting the manufacturers and the distributors. Lawsuits filed by the city of Chicago and the states of OH and MS are among several similar to the one filed by Oakland and Wayne counties.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 183,000 people died in the US from prescription opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Wayne County 817 people died in opioid-related deaths in 2016, up from 506 in 2015, according to Evans.

"There was a concerted and tragically successful effort to get more doctors to prescribe these drugs while distorting the conversation about addiction", Miller said.

"The opioid industry has taken a page out of big tobacco's playbook", Patterson said Thursday in a statement. Oakland County opioid-related deaths rose from nine in 2009 to 33 in 2015.

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