City Council authorizes lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

The City Council has authorized the City Attorney to initiate a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. The proposed litigation will seek to recover monetary damages incurred by the City in responding to the opioid crisis in Minneapolis and injunctive and other relief.

The City of Minneapolis joins a number of states, counties and cities across the country that have filed similar lawsuits against drug makers to help recoup costs associated with fighting the opioid epidemic.

“The misrepresentations, deceptive and dangerous marketing practices, oversupply and failure to comply with federal reporting requirements of opioid manufacturers and distributors are among the leading causes of our current spiral of opioid-related addiction, overdoses and deaths,” said City Attorney Susan Segal. “With the City Council’s action today, Minneapolis will be joining with other cities, counties and states to seek redress and to put a stop to the dangerous practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.”

The Minneapolis Fire Department has experienced a surge in calls related to opioid overdoses. “In the past 18 months we’ve seen a large increase in demand for service in response to the opioid epidemic,” said Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel. “Since May of 2016, when the Minneapolis Fire Department began administering naloxone treatments for opioid overdoses, the MFD has responded to 363 opioid overdose emergencies in the City of Minneapolis administering 551 doses of naloxone to date.”

The naloxone treatments administered by the Fire Department have saved the lives of 328 people.

There were 376 opioid-involved deaths in Minnesota in 2016, up 12 percent from 2015, according to recent data released by the Minnesota Department of Health. Prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, accounted for the largest number of opioid-involved deaths.