Tacoma latest city to sue manufacturers of opioids

Tacoma is taking on big pharma.

The city of Tacoma has sued three manufacturers of prescription opioids seeking to hold them accountable for problems related to opioid addiction.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Tacoma alleges that Purdue Pharma, Endo and Janssen made false and misleading statements about the benefits and risks of opioids to doctors and patients over the past two decades.

"In the past, they have claimed that opioids are indeed safe and have very minimal or no risk of addiction, and they have based those claims on evidence that was inaccurate," said attorney David Ko with Keller Rohrback.

City Manager Elizabeth Pauli says the city wants to hold the opioid manufacturers liable for the harms they have inflicted on the community as well as financial burden to taxpayers.

Tacoma joins other cities and states in suing drug manufacturers for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.

"The complaint itself is a pretty big statement in being the second city in the state but joining the approximately 30 other jurisdictions that have felt the need to do something about this," Ko said.

Related: Everett claims OxyContin maker allows drug into black market, plans to sue

In a statement, Purdue vigorously denied the allegations. It said it shared public officials' concerns about the opioid crisis and was committed to working together to find solutions.

Messages left with Endo and Janssen were not immediately returned.

LiLi Tan contributed to this report.

© 2017 Associated Press


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