NEW BEDFORD – The city has filed suit against the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors in the United States for their role in the widespread diversion of prescription opiates for nonmedical purposes, The Standard-Times reported June 11.
The suit, filed June 6 in federal district court in the District of Massachusetts Eastern Division, alleges that pharmaceutical manufacturing companies promoted addictive opioids and falsely represented to doctors that patients would rarely become addicted; that pharmaceutical distributors failed to properly monitor, investigate and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids; and that several national retail pharmacies were or should have been aware of potential suspicious activity and diversion related to opioid prescriptions, the Standard-Times reported.
According to the Mass. Department of Public Health, from 2000-2015 the state saw a 372% increase in overdose fatalities to 1,724. In 2012, 742 opioid-related deaths were logged, growing to 1,933 in 2016.