City of Springfield Files Opioid Lawsuit

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that the City of Springfield filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, board members, and executives who caused the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic.

The civil complaint was filed in Hampden Superior Court on Dec. 18. The complaint alleges that Springfield, along with many other communities, is currently experiencing a stark increase in the number of residents who have become addicted to prescription opioids and heroin that has caused an increase in opioid overdoses. The complaint references a report that prescription opioids are now known to be the “gateway” drug to heroin; approximately 80{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of current heroin users got their start with prescription opioids.

According to the complaint, unlike any other epidemic, the opioid epidemic is not natural, nor typical, but largely man-made. It has been created, fueled, and continues to expand by the persistent unlawful conduct of the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmaceutical wholesale distributors.

Echoing the allegations in the complaint, Sarno stated, “A pharmaceutical manufacturer should never place its desire for profits above the health and well-being of its customers. Drug manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure that their products are accompanied by full and accurate instructions and warnings to guide prescribing doctors and other healthcare providers in making treatment decisions. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have legal duties to tell the truth when marketing their drugs and to ensure that their marketing claims are supported by science and medical evidence. A pharmaceutical distributor of controlled substances has a legal duty to conduct its business lawfully, carefully, and in a manner that does not irresponsibly and unreasonably saturate a community with opioids.  Executives of a pharmaceutical company, have a legal obligation to ensure that their company conducts itself in a manner compliant with the law that is designed to protect rather than harm patients. Defendants broke these simple rules.” 

Springfield’s complaint was filed in conjunction with similar actions brought by Haverhill, Framingham, Gloucester, Salem, Lynnfield, and Wakefield, and the City of Worcester, all represented by Scott+Scott. Partner Judy Scolnick of Scott+Scott said, “we are honored to have been selected to represent Springfield in this important lawsuit. The dedicated employees of Springfield are doing all they can to try to ameliorate the devastation left in the wake of the defendant manufacturers’ and distributors’ greed-driven scheme to increase the sale of opioid pills.”

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