Milwaukee County Sues Drug Manufactures, Distributors Causing Opioid Epidemic Damage

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County officials say it’s time to fight back in the opioid epidemic. On Wednesday, March 14, they filed suit against 13 drug companies on behalf of county taxpayers.

“Make no mistake, there is blood on their hands and there should be a stain on their conscience,” said Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun.

The complaint names several manufacturers and distributors of painkillers, including the makers of OxyContin, Opana and Percocet. The county says the companies “deceptively trivialized and failed to disclose the risks of long-term opioid abuse.”

The lawsuit says 336 people died from opioids in Milwaukee County last year, more than double the number from five years earlier.

“We are not acting on this with the urgency that we should,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “Today is about changing that.”

Milwaukee County has hired four law firms for the lawsuit, which is separate from 64 other Wisconsin counties that joined forces to file suit under an effort led by the Wisconsin Counties Association. Other counties in southeast Wisconsin joined that suit in November.

“This lawsuit is being against drug distributors and manufacturers because they knowingly broke the law by dumping millions of dollars’ worth of prescription opiates into our community causing serious harm in Milwaukee County”, said Supervisor Peggy West.

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