Dauphin County sues opioid makers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Dauphin County has filed a lawsuit against several drug makers over the marketing of prescription opioid painkillers.

Commissioner Mike Pries said the lawsuit filed in state court Wednesday is about making the companies accountable and “forcing them to help solve the tragedy they created.”

The suit, filed on behalf of the county by national law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy and Philadelphia-based Young Ricchiuti Caldwell & Heller, also names three U.S. physicians who prominently advocated the use of opioids for treating chronic pain.

The county is seeking relief that includes “compensatory and punitive damages for the millions of dollars it spends each year to combat the public nuisance created by the drug companies.”

Dauphin County spent $19.6 million to help 2,859 people suffering from addiction from June 2016 to July 2017.

The law firms are handling the suit on a contingency basis, meaning the firms will pay all upfront costs and receive payment only if money is awarded. The county plans to use its share of any award to pay for drug abuse treatment and prevention programs.

The Dauphin County coroner’s office reported more than 110 overdose deaths last year.

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