Cuyahoga County Announces It's Suing Addictive Painkiller Makers and Distributors

Oct 28, 2017

The county is suing pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for the cost it’s incurred. County Executive Armond Budish announced the civil case Friday.
Credit Matt Richmond / Ideastream

Cuyahoga County is suing the manufacturers and distributors of addictive opioidss, adding to a growing list of local governments across Ohio to do so.

“If we’re waiting for help from Washington, it is not coming,” says Mike O'Malley.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor O’Malley joined county Executive Armond Budish to announce the civil case Friday. The county is suing pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for the cost it’s incurred for medical, emergency, social and law enforcement services as a result of the region's opioid epidemic.

The suit alleges the manufacturers misrepresented the addictiveness of the drugs and the distributors failed to notify government agencies of sthe uspiciously large number of pills being sold by certain pharmacies and doctors who operated pill mills.

Budish says more than 600 county residents died from opioid-related overdoses last year.

“They manufactured and distributed these addictive drugs in violation of the law, endangering the lives of thousands of our residents, and they did it just to make huge profits,” says Budish.

Ohio’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit earlier this year against about a half dozen drug makers, some of which are included in the Cuyahoga County case. He did not sue the distributors, including Cardinal Health, which is based in Ohio. Summit County announced earlier this week it -- along with Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls -- expect to sue the drug makers and distributors in a few weeks.