Michigan Cities, Counties Sue Drug Companies Over Opioid Crisis

Michigan cities, counties sue drug makers, pharmacies, alleging they downplayed how addictive opioids are, ignored suspiciously big orders.

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

A handful of counties and cities in Michigan, including Detroit, are filing a federal lawsuit against large pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies over their alleged role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

Officials say they want the companies to take responsibility for the health crisis.

The suit accuses drug companies of marketing opioids without spelling-out just how addictive they truly are.

It also claims distributors and pharmacies refused to note suspiciously large orders of the medication in what the suit claims amounts to a pattern of racketeering.

It names more than 20 defendants including Purdue Pharma, CVS, Walgreens and Costco.

Lansing and Escanaba are part of the lawsuit, as are the counties of Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Grand Traverse and Saginaw.

Macomb County is also one of the plaintiffs.

County Executive Mark Hackel says the drug companies should reimburse municipalities for the cost of treating opioid addiction.

But he says the ultimate goal is more far-reaching.

“This litigation is to get them to stop it…And if we’re able to recover costs that’s great,” Hackel says.

Several cities nationwide as well as Wayne and Oakland Counties have already filed similar lawsuits.  


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.