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Seven more lawsuits filed in DMV against opioid makers. See which cities, counties are suing.

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. logo WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 6/18/2019 Jordan Fischer
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WASHINGTON -- Seven more cities and counties in the DMV have filed lawsuit against a slew of pharmaceutical companies over the nation’s opioid crisis – pushing the total number of such lawsuits from the DMV to more than 60.

Nationwide, more than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against a group of defendants that includes some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country – among them Purdue Pharma, Abbott Laboratories, Mallinckrodt LLC, Insys Therapeutics and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

DC sues Purdue Pharma over opioid marketing © Provided by TEGNA Inc. DC sues Purdue Pharma over opioid marketing

The suits claim Purdue and others “engaged in a marketing a promotional campaign based on misrepresentations about the risks and benefits of FDA-approved prescription opioid medications.” Purdue Pharma, listed as the lead defendant in the case, is the manufacturer of OxyContin (the brand name of oxycodone). OxyContin carries a boxed warning about the dangers of addiction and abuse, including “life-threatening respiratory depression” and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. While OxyContin is one of the most recognizable opioid painkillers, Purdue Pharma claims it makes up only 1.4% of all opioid prescriptions.

a close up of a map: A WUSA9 analysis found at least 70 lawsuits filed by DMV governments against opioid manufacturers since 2018. © Jordan Fischer A WUSA9 analysis found at least 70 lawsuits filed by DMV governments against opioid manufacturers since 2018.

Purdue Pharma has already agreed to a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma to fund addiction research and treatment and to pay legal fees.

RELATED | D.C. sues Purdue Pharma over opioid marketing

Almost 650 of the more than 1,000 other pending lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies have been collected into a multi-district litigation out of Ohio. Those lists already included the states of Maryland and Virginia, and now, as of last week, include the District of Columbia and six local governments:

  • Dorchester County, Maryland
  • Calvert County, Maryland
  • Cambridge, Maryland
  • Loudoun County, Virginia
  • Danville, Virginia
  • Norfolk, Virginia  
a close up of a map © Provided by TEGNA Inc.

An analysis of federal court records by WUSA9 found at least 62 separate opioid lawsuits out of the DMV filed since 2018.

The lawsuits ask for varying remedies to their suits. Loudoun County’s for example, filed Friday, asks for damages in the amount not less than $280 million, plus punitive damages of $350,000 per defendant.


Jordan Fischer is an investigative reporter with WUSA9. Follow him on Twitter at @JordanOnRecord.


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