City files lawsuit against opioid industry

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By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

The City of Alexandria filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy benefit managers for their role in creating the prescription opioid epidemic, the city announced March 14.

Alexandria and Dickenson County, Virginia, are the first municipalities in the state to take legal action against the opioid industry, according to a press release.

The complaints, filed in state court by the two municipalities, allege each defendant has contributed to the growing opioid crisis.

The complaints allege manufacturers make and misrepresent the drugs to doctors and patients, distributors fail in their responsibility to report and

stop suspicious orders and PBMs leverage their roles as middlemen to increase the flow of opioids into the marketplace.

Both Alexandria and Dickenson County have been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Alexandria has witnessed a 30 percent increase in opioid overdoses

in the last two years, while Dickenson County, with a population of fewer than 16,000 people, recorded 465 opioid deaths in 2016, according to the release.

The municipalities say they have been forced to spend scarce funds on harm caused by the defendants.

The lawsuit aims to recover these costs and costs associated with the purchase of opioids prescribed to city and county employees, according to the release. Alexandria is one of the only localities in the commonwealth to have an opioid treatment program, which it funds in collaboration with the state.

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLC, and The Cicala Law Firm PLLC are representing the city and Dickenson County.

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