The city of Chicago filed suit against five pharmaceutical manufacturers on Monday, for allegedly marketing a class of highly potent painkillers for common aches and pains, while masking the risks of addiction.
The lawsuit charges Purdue Pharma L.P., Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Actavis plc for marketing highly addictive opioids normally used in cancer treatments as a remedy for everyday pains, including back pains, arthritis and headaches.
“This has led to a dramatic rise in drug addiction, overdose and diversion in communities across the nation, and Chicago is not immune to this epidemic,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.
The city is seeking compensation for approximately $9.5 million in prescription payments. It also alleges drug abuse burdened local hospitals with an influx of patients. The mayor’s office said painkiller abuse had climbed 65% between 2004 and 2011, resulting in 1,080 trips to the emergency room.