New York City blames drug companies for opioid epidemic, files $500M lawsuit


"It's simple. It's time for big pharma to pay for what they have done".

De Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray filed their lawsuit against more than 10 major pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and sell opioids.

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The city's latest suit against leading pharmaceutical companies comes just weeks after New York City announced it was suing the world's largest oil companies to protect the city from climate change.

"That's what's really going on", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.

Staten Island resident Ann Marie Perotto, a mother who helped open a South Shore's addiction treatment center - Christopher's Reason - after losing her son to a prescription pill overdose in 2011 at the age of 22, shared her son's story and called on the pharmaceutical companies to be held accountable.

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New York City's lawsuit claims drugmakers and drug distributors misrepresented the safety of long-term opioid use, thereby facilitating widespread proliferation of the drugs. "It's time for hold the companies accountable for what they've done to our city and help save more lives".

Purdue and Johnson & Johnson were among the companies named in the multi-million dollar lawsuit.

New York City's move follows a wave of similar lawsuits brought by 15 states and about 300 other cities and counties in the U.S.

More New Yorkers died from opioid-related overdoses a year ago than from auto accidents and homicides combined.

McKesson said it reports hundreds of thousands of suspicious orders to federal authorities each year and that "this complicated, multi-faceted public-health crisis can not be solved by any one participant", but needs to come from a comprehensive approach involving everyone from doctors to insurance companies to distributors and manufacturers.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeks to recover $500 million in current and future costs the city will incur to fight the opioid epidemic.

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At age 19, Perotto said her son was a straight A student and athlete who became addicted to prescription opioids after he was in a vehicle accident.

"More New Yorkers have died from opioid overdoses than vehicle crashes and homicides combined in recent years".

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Last year, the city launched HealingNYC, a $38 million initiative to tackle the epidemic.

Goldin, 64, is circulating a petition, already signed by more than 6,000 people, demanding that Purdue Pharma and the family that owns it accept responsibility.

The companies have denied the allegations and said they are committed to working with communities to stem opioid abuse.

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Dr. Herminia Palacio, the city's Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, said overdose deaths in the city jumped 17 percent from 2014 to 2015 and then 50 percent from 2015 to 2016, with involved in almost half of those deaths.