County in Cleveland sue drugmakers over opioid surge

The lawsuit says the drugmakers and distributors sought to increase sales of painkillers and contributed to the opioid abuse crisis

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Leftover opioids are a common dilemma for surgery patients; a study published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, suggests that after several common operations most don't use all their pills and many store the remainders unsafely at home.
FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Leftover opioids are a common dilemma for surgery patients; a study published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, suggests that after several common operations most don't use all their pills and many store the remainders unsafely at home. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

CLEVELAND (AP) – County officials in Cleveland are suing several large prescription drug companies saying they intentionally misled the public about the dangers of opioids.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Cuyahoga County says the drugmakers and distributors sought to increase sales of painkillers and contributed to the opioid abuse crisis.

The complaint names some of the largest companies in the pharmaceutical industry. The lawsuit also accuses four doctors of downplaying the risk of prescription opioids in research funded by the drug companies.

The companies have denied wrongdoing in response to similar lawsuits filed around the country.

More than 540 people fatally overdosed on opioids last year in Cuyahoga County. The county Medical Examiner’s Office estimates close to 800 could die this year.

The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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