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Five suburban counties suing drug companies over opioid epidemic

Chicago Tribune - 12/21/2017

Dec. 21--Five suburban counties in Illinois filed lawsuits Thursday against more than seven pharmaceutical companies, joining a growing effort to hold manufacturers accountable for the nation's opioid epidemic.

Prosecutors in DuPage, Kane, Will, McHenry and Lake counties said in a statement that the "aggressive and fraudulent marketing of prescription opioid painkillers" has led to a "corporate-caused drug epidemic."

Officials said they filed the actions to stem the flow of opioids into communities and hold the manufacturers accountable for the damage done. The lawsuits do not specify the amount of damages sought.

"The source of this crisis is not street corners," Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said in a news conference in Wheaton announcing the litigation. "It's in boardrooms."

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that more Illinois residents died from opioid-relayed drug overdose in 2014 than from homicide or motor vehicle deaths. And, officials at Thursday's briefing suggested the problem has worsened since then.

Among the companies named in the suit are Purdue Pharma LP, Abbott Laboratories, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Cephalon, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Endo Health Solutions Inc.

Check back later for updates.


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