St. Louis alleges in suit against drug companies that opioids have cost city $5 million

By Carrie Salls | Nov 8, 2018

ST. LOUIS – The city of St. Louis alleged in a lawsuit filed Nov. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri that several pharmaceutical companies have cost the city at least $5 million in connection with the manufacture and sale of opioid-containing prescription medications.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include Purdue Pharma LP, Purdue Pharma Inc., Purdue Frederick Co. Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., and Cephalon Inc. The plaintiff filed the suit citing the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation, negligence per se and other counts.

The city alleged in its complaint that all of the defendants knew that opioids are highly addictive, and that “thousands of patients for whom opioids were prescribed would become and did in fact become addicted to the drugs, resulting in severe injuries to the patients’ health.”

In addition, the city alleged the drug companies knew that the distribution of “large quantities of their opioids” would lead to illegal drug trafficking.

“...Each and every defendant practiced deception, fraud, false pretense, misrepresentation, unfair practices and concealment, omission and suppression of material facts in connection with the sale, advertising or marketing as their opioids,” the complaint states.

As a result, St. Louis alleges the city was led to believe that it would safe to purchase the opioids manufactured and distributed by the defendants for use in city-run prisons and clinics and for city workers who were on family and medical leave or workers’ compensation.

St. Louis said in its complaint that it is asking the court to rule that the defendants are jointly and severally liable for punitive damages, attorney’s fees, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and court costs.

The city is represented by City Counselor Julian L. Bush, Deputy City Counselor Nancy R. Kistler and Deputy City Counselor Brent Dulle

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