The City of New Britain has filed suit against manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers. The suit is similar to one filed by New Haven last month.
Both cities want drug companies to cover the cost of the opioid crisis. That includes extra burden on police, first responders and social services.
The lawsuit says companies used deceptive marketing to convince doctors and patients that prescription opioids were less addictive. The suit cites a study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that says nearly 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription opioids.
David Scott, of Scott + Scott, the law firm that’s suing the drug companies, says, “There’s no doubt that it’s important to be able to manage pain. But I think that the drug companies had an obligation to not affirmatively mislead the public on just how addictive these drugs were.”
Scott says his law firm is helping other cities in Connecticut prepare cases against these pharmaceutical companies.
The New Britain suit was filed in Connecticut state court against drug distributors and six major pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.
In a statement, Johnson and Johnson says the opioid crisis is a serious public health issue that must be addressed but lawsuits against the company are both legally and factually unfounded. The company says it’s acted in the best interest of patients with regard to opioid pain medications, which are FDA approved and carry FDA-mandated warnings.
Purdue Pharma also released a statement, saying: “We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution. As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge. Although our products account for approximately 2% of the total opioid prescriptions, as a company, we’ve distributed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, developed the first FDA-approved opioid medication with abuse-deterrent properties and partner with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxone. We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense.”