Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Michigan counties file lawsuit against major drug companies

Flickr User frankieleon

Nine cities and counties from across Michigan are taking drug companies to court.

The lawsuits filed in federal courts claim manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains misled doctors and the public about the dangers of opioids. And the legal actions also say the drug companies failed to follow safeguards that would have reduced the number of people addicted to opioids.

Mark Bernstein is the lawyer for the local governments.

“What is at stake here is battling an epidemic of astonishing proportions.”

“This an unprecedented, coordinated effort by municipalities to deal with what is really an unprecedented crisis. The opioid crisis is the most fatal drug crisis on record in American history.” 

He says this lawsuit could be as big as the tobacco lawsuits of the late

“The bill for that crisis has fallen, to date, on municipalities across Michigan. So we are fighting back, they are fighting back to get their taxpayer money back and to change the conduct of these defendants.”

Money from the lawsuit would go towards medical care, opioid treatment, and costs associated with law enforcement. The lawsuit also asks the judge to demand the drug companies change their business practices.