Government Law

Chicago sues 5 drug companies, says they pushed painkillers and drove up city's costs


Following in the footsteps of two California counties, the city of Chicago this week filed suit against five pharmaceutical companies, contending that they drove up the city’s costs by overstating the benefits of their addictive painkillers and failing to reveal the downside of taking the drugs.

It says the defendants, which include Johnson & Johnson and the makers of OxyContin and Percodan, campaigned to change public perceptions of their drugs, reports Bloomberg. The suit claims that these campaigns resulted in increased use, increased addiction, and a migration by addicts from prescription painkillers to illegal-but-cheaper heroin.

“Since 2007, the city has paid for nearly 400,000 claims for opioid prescription fills, costing nearly $9,500,000, and suffered additional damages for the costs of providing and using opiates long-term to treat chronic non-cancer pain,” says the Cook County Circuit Court suit. It asserts claims for alleged civil conspiracy, fraud and violation of municipal law and seeks unspecified damages.

Representatives of the defendant drug companies either declined to comment or did not respond to the news agency’s requests for comment.

A similar suit was filed in California state court by Orange and Santa Clara counties.

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