Trump Wants Federal Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers As State Lawsuits Pile Up Against Them

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

President Donald Trump wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a federal lawsuit against opioid makers and suppliers, he said during a Cabinet meeting Thursday.

“I’d also like to ask you to bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opioids,” Trump said Thursday according to Fox News. “Some states have done it, but I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opioids at a level that — it really shouldn’t be happening. … People go into a hospital with a broken arm, they come out, they’re a drug addict.”

The proposed suit would come as opioid manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma, face or have faced suits from multiple states, including Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and, most recently, New York.

Trump also asked Sessions to look into opioids entering the U.S. from China and Mexico during the meeting, reported Fox.

New York filed suit against Purdue Pharma blaming it for downplaying the dangers of opioids while marketing its opioid products including the narcotic OxyContin, reported Reuters. At least 3,086 people died from opioid overdoses “including prescription painkillers and heroin” in New York in 2016. Opioids overdoses killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“The opioid epidemic was manufactured by unscrupulous distributors who developed a $400 billion industry pumping human misery into our communities,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.

Purdue said it “vigorously” denies New York’s accusations in a statement, according to the New York Post.

“We believe it is inappropriate for the state to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts at [Food and Drug Administration],” the statement continued, according to the NY Post. (RELATED: CDC Estimates That Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record Level In 2017)

Purdue had to pay more than $630 million after the company and three of its leading executives were investigated by the Department of Justice and pleaded guilty to misbranding OxyContin in 2007, reported Reuters.

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