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Natural Awakenings Boston

Mayor Announces Boston Will Sue Drug Companies

On June 19, Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city of Boston has retained a South Carolina law firm, Motley Rice LLC, in anticipation of a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies to recover damages stemming from the opioid epidemic. The firm will immediately begin to gather relevant information with the intent of filing suit by the fall.

“Boston, like so many cities across the country, has invested significant time, money and resources to aggressively attack the opioid crisis from every angle,” Walsh said in a statement. “Now is the time to finally hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has sued Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, alleging the Connecticut company downplayed the prescription painkiller’s risks.

Massachusetts is among roughly two dozen states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas that have filed suit against drugmakers recently. Counties, municipalities and even hospitals have filed similar lawsuits.

According to Healey’s lawsuit, in Massachusetts, more than 11,000 have died from opioid-related overdoses in the past decade. Also, in Massachusetts, as in the nation, opioid-related fatalities have been rising—from 590 in 2010 to 2,155 in 2016, before falling slightly to 1,977 in 2017.

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