Last week the lead officials of Oakland and Wayne counties announced they are jointly suing a dozen drug manufacturers for their contributions to the opioid epidemic in America.
They say the companies used intentionally deceptive marketing techniques to sell prescription opioids to doctors and hospitals, knowing that the drugs were harmful and deadly.
“We want to do to the opioid manufacturers and distributors the same thing we did 30-40 years ago to the tobacco industry,” Oakland County L. Brooks Patterson said of the lawsuit, as reported in Crain’s Detroit Business.
“We see that they really have taken a page out of the tobacco era — false advertising, false claims, people becoming dependent on these drugs without the fair notice of what could happen to their lives.”
E. Powell Miller, the lead attorney on the lawsuit, says the manufacturers know what they’re doing and the danger of their drugs.
“[They’re] basically giving information to doctors that the risk of addiction is much less [than it is],” says Miller.
Miller says he thinks there is criminal intent, but the counties are pursuing a civil suit. Miller says to see real progress on the issue of opioid addiction, there will need to be buy-in from the Legislature and Congress as well.
“This is going to take a full-court press to stop this crisis.”
To see how opioid prescription affects your county, check out this map MLive created.
To hear more of the conversation about the lawsuit, click on the audio player above.