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February 15, 2018

Philly D.A.'s lawsuit tries new tack against opioid drug makers

It's the latest legal action against opioid manufacturers

Courts Lawsuits
05162017_Larry_Krasner Source/Krasner campaign

Former defense attorney Larry Krasner is Philadelphia's new district attorney.

Municipal officials from 16 Pennsylvania counties have filed separate lawsuits against opioid manufacturers as the national epidemic shows little signs of letting up.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has added another lawsuit to the pile, claiming 10 pharmaceutical companies violated consumer protection laws by engaging in deceptive marketing practices.

The lawsuit, filed in the Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 2, comes just weeks after Philadelphia officials filed a similar suit against opioid manufacturers.

But Krasner's suit marks the first filed by a district attorney under Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection laws. 

The Consumer Protection Law allows a county district attorney to sue in the name of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth if he or she believes a manufacturer is using unlawful, deceptive practices.

The lawsuit seeks to recover the expenses the city has incurred in its response to the opioid epidemic, which has hit Philadelphia particularly hard.

Fatal drug overdoses have more than doubled in four years, with the vast majority attributed to opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.

An official count for 2017 is still being tabulated, but city officials expect the number to reach 1,200 fatalities.

The city has equipped first responders with the overdose antidote Narcan, a powerful tool that has been attributed to saving many lives. Last month, the city officials – including Krasner – announced their support for a safe injection site

The lawsuit filed by Krasner named the following defendants: Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company Inc.; Allergan Finance LLC; Cephalon Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.