MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The City of Memphis has filed a federal lawsuit against a group of more than 20 opioid drug manufacturers and distributors, accusing them of fueling the addiction crisis plaguing the community, according to court records.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on Thursday.
The suit asks the court to order the companies to pay the city for “past and future costs” of problems created by the opioid epidemic, which the city alleges the companies helped create through deceptive marketing.
“Opioid addiction is ravaging Memphis,” the complaint reads. “The economic damages were foreseeable to defendants and were caused by defendants’ actions.”
The 146-page complaint doesn’t list an exact amount the city is seeking, but the city said it spends millions each year to help Memphians affected by opioids.
The suit accuses the drug-makers and distributors of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The following companies are named in the suit: ACTAVIS LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLC; Amerisoucebergen Drug Corporation; CEPHALON, Inc.,; Cardinal Health Inc.; ENDO HEALTH SOLUTIONS, INC.; Endo Pharmacueticals Inc; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.f/k/a Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. f/k/a Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Johnson and Johnson; MALLINCKRODT PLC; Mallinckrodt, LLC; McKesson Corporation; Normaco Inc; Purdue Frederick Company; Purdue Pharma Inc., Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA INC; Watson Laboratories Inc; and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., NKA Actavis.
WMC Action News 5 asked each of the companies named in the suit for comment.
Jansseen Pharmaceuticals, which is one of the companies named in the suit, sent the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
AmerisourceBergen, another company named in the suit, sent the following response:
Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), the national trade association representing wholesale distributors whose members include McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, released this statement:
McKesson didn’t comment specifically on the suit, but said the company "delivers life-saving medicines to millions of Americans each day. As a company, we are deeply concerned by the impact the opioid epidemic is having on families and communities across our nation. We are committed to engaging with all who share our dedication to acting with urgency and working together to end this national crisis.”
Other companies did not immediately return messages for comment.
Hundreds of similar lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers and distributors by cities and states across the country, including the State of Tennessee.
In 2017, Shelby County Commissioners also filed a lawsuit against nearly 20 different drug manufacturers, doctors and pharmacies.
To view the lawsuit in its entirety click here.