Miami Filing Lawsuit Against Opioid Drug Manufacturers, Distributors

City officials in Miami are filing a civil lawsuit over alleged false marketing practices by several prescription opioid painkiller manufacturers and distributors.

In a statement, the city government said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez authorized the City Attorney’s Office to "engage outside counsel to file a lawsuit."

The lawsuit alleges that several defendants (Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Cardinal Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance) created a public nuisance by falsely marketing opioids and unlawfully supplying them throughout the City of Miami, which "allegedly unjustly enriched them at the expense of the city and its residents."

“We believe the pharmaceutical industry knowingly inflicted a great burden on the people of the City of Miami and our nation. This industry has been allowed to get away with this injustice for far too long,” City Manager Emilio T. Gonzalez said in a statement. “It is time that they are held accountable and remedy the devastating circumstances that they created.”

According to the statement, there were 641 opioid-related overdoses in 2016, a 20 percent increase from 2015, and the Miami Department of Fire-Rescue responded to 1,717 calls – an over-1,000-call increase – involving Naloxone, an antidote to opioids that same year.

In 2015, 541 people died due to a fatal drug overdose died of prescription drug-related deaths overdose, the city said.

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