OxyContin, in 80 mg pills, in a 2013 file image. (Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

OxyContin, in 80 mg pills, in a 2013 file image. (Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

SF sues drug makers, distributors over role in opioid epidemic

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued an array of prescription drug makers and distributors today, accusing them of fraudulent practices and the creation of a public nuisance in contributing to the opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of the city of San Francisco and the state of California.

It is expected to be transferred to federal court in Ohio, where U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of Cleveland is coordinating more than 1,200 similar lawsuits filed nationwide by cities, counties, states, Native American tribes and other groups.

The San Francisco lawsuit accuses drug makers such as Purdue Pharma of misleading doctors and patients about the dangers of pain-killing opioid drugs such as OxyContin, oxycodone and fentanyl.

It accuses wholesalers such as San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. of failing to effectively monitor and report suspicious sales of the drugs as required by state and federal laws.

McKesson spokeswoman April Marks said the company does not comment on specific lawsuits.

But she noted that in general, the company has stated it maintains “strong programs designed to detect and prevent opioid diversion within the pharmaceutical supply chain” and reports suspicious sales to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The lawsuit cites California Department of Public Health statistics showing that opioid addiction caused the deaths of more than 2,190 Californians in 2017.

It is based on legal claims of creation of a public nuisance, negligence, unfair and fraudulent business practices under California law and creation of a fraudulent enterprise in violation of federal racketeering law.

The suit asks for financial compensation for the costs of treating opioid addiction and an injunction halting the alleged false marketing and failure to report suspicious sales.

-Julia Cheever, Bay City NewsBay Area News

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read