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Citing opioid epidemic, state of Michigan to seek damages from drug companies

Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

Updated December 17, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.:

Michigan has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that distribute opioids. The action was filed under a law that allows the state to seek damages from drug dealers. This is the first time the law has been used against drug distribution companies. The case was filed Tuesday in the Wayne County Circuit Court.

“This is not going away unless we make real, meaningful steps to protect our families, and give those struggling with opioid use disorder the resources they need to recover,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Original Post, December 16, 2019:

The state of Michigan will file a lawsuit Tuesday demanding that drug companies pay damages for the harm caused by the opioid abuse epidemic.

Health officials believe there were 2,000 opioid abuse-related deaths in Michigan last year.

The lawsuit will be filed in Wayne County Circuit Court because metro Detroit is considered the region hardest hit by the opioid abuse crisis. The state has hired a group of law firms experienced in opioid litigation to handle the lawsuit.

The legal action will be formally announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state Attorney General Dana Nessel. Several counties and municipalities in Michigan have already filed their own lawsuits. This is the first time the state of Michigan has initiated its own lawsuit against drug companies related to the opioid crisis.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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