2 counties sue drug manufacturers over opioid marketing

DETROIT (AP) – Two Michigan counties say they are suing about a dozen drug manufacturers and distributors for deceptive marketing and sale of opioids.

The joint lawsuit was announced Thursday by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

It alleges that drug manufacturers are using a “concerted, coordinated strategy to shift the way in which doctors and patients think about pain and to encourage the widespread prescribing and use of opioids.”

Officials say there were 817 opioid-related deaths in Wayne County last year, up from 506 the year before. Oakland County opioid-related deaths rose from nine in 2009 to 33 in 2015.

Last week, Newark, New Jersey, announced it was suing several opioid manufacturers, saying they downplayed the risk of opioid addiction and overstated the drugs’ long-term benefits.

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