Cities And States Look To Big Pharma To Cover Costs Of The Opioid Epidemic


As pharmaceutical companies prepare to square off with states and local communities in courts around the U.S., a growing number of state and local officials say the industry should pay to cover the cost of the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

"I think they are as complicit in this as the dealers that are dealing on the streets and for that I think they should pay a price," says Gerald Craig, executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board in Summit County, Ohio. That county is involved in a lawsuit against drugmakers that's slated to go to trial later this year.

A first test case begins this week in Oklahoma, a trial that will test the limits of the drug industry's liability. Two of the defendants have already settled claims with state officials there. Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million back in March and this week, Teva Pharmaceuticals settled for a $85 million payment.