Attorney General Pam Bondi says Florida is "fully prepared to go to war" with the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid epidemic.
Bondi on Tuesday announced that the state is seeking billions of dollars in damages from nine drug manufacturers and distributors involved in the marketing of opioids.
The manufacturers - Purdue, Endo, Janssen, Cephalon, and Allergan - are alleged to have "funded front groups to disseminate information about the use of opioids for chronic pain," Bondi said.
The comprehensive lawsuit accuses the companies of racketeering and deceptive trade practices to try to hide the danger of opioid addiction so they could make more money.
The distributors - AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, Cardinal, and Mallinckrodt - are alleged to have "assisted with deceptive marketing and failed to prevent the diversion of opioids in our state," said Bondi, adding that they "did not properly assess Florida customers to determine if their opioid orders were valid" as well as failing to report suspicious orders and continuing to fill those orders after being warned by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
An average of 15 Floridians die every day from opioid overdoses.