Mich. governments sue to recover costs tied to opioids

Associated Press

Detroit – Cities and counties across Michigan are the latest to sue drug companies and retailers over the consequences of excessive opioid use.

They want the companies to reimburse local governments for the costs of responding to the crisis.

Lawsuits were filed Tuesday in federal court by Macomb County, Detroit, Genesee County, Saginaw County, Grand Traverse County, Delta County, Chippewa County, Lansing and Escanaba. Wayne and Oakland counties filed a lawsuit in October over marketing practices.

"The opioid industry has taken a page out of big tobacco's playbook," Patterson said in October when the first lawsuit was filed. "They utilized misleading information, marketing campaigns, and studies to convince the public that their product was safe. They put profits over people and now people are paying the price, some with their lives."

The joint suit with Wayne and Oakland counties alleges several drug makers intentionally misled doctors and patients about their products' appropriate uses, risks and safety while downplaying the risks of addiction.

The lawsuit seeks to stop drug companies from making further false or misleading statements about opioids and stop them from not reporting suspicious drug orders. It also seeks legal costs and damages.

Lawyers want the cases added to litigation that’s active in Ohio federal court.

Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, agrees there’s an opioid abuse crisis. It supports efforts to limit the number of tablets during a first prescription.

The state says roughly 1,700 people died from opioid overdoses in Michigan in 2016, up 33 percent over 2015.