Three local cities join legal fight against opioids

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three cities in southern Nevada are joining the legal fight against opioids. In a lawsuit filed on Thursday, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson criticize several big pharma companies for today’s public health epidemic.

“We are going to fight for our residents,” said North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.

According to the lawsuit, opioids generated $11 billion in revenue for drug companies in 2014. The defendants include Purdue Pharma, Walmart and CVS. The lawsuit alleges that drug makers sold prescription medications despite knowing that the drugs were unsafe.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about stopping the pain and misery because of these addictions,” said Lee.

The lawsuit comes amid a major victory in Oklahoma.

A judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $572 million for downplaying the risks of addiction. It’s the first state opioid case to make it to trial.

“We have proven that Johnson & Johnson built its billion dollar brand out of greed and on the backs of pain and suffering of innocent people,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Michael Hunter.

The company has repeatedly denied the allegations. 

“It has been such a huge drain on local governments that we now have to address this problem and ask the courts to help us understand how to stop this from happening to our residents,” said Lee.

It’s alleged that more than 1.3 billion pills were shipped to southern Nevada between 2006 and 2012. The estimated damages total more than $4 billion. 

Purdue Pharma is reportedly in discussion to settle more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits against the company.

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