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Waterbury Sues Pharma Companies Over Prescription Drug Addiction

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Waterbury Sues Pharma Companies Over Prescription Drug Addiction

Mayor Neil O'Leary met with leaders from more than 20 Connecticut municipalities to see if they're interested in joining the case.

Waterbury is suing several pharmaceutical companies and physicians for their alleged role in causing the city's prescription drug epidemic, a move that mirrors litigation seen in other parts of the nation.

Mayor Neil O'Leary met with leaders from more than 20 Connecticut municipalities to discuss the case and to see if they're interested in joining shortly after the lawsuit was filed Thursday. The city is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

At the meeting, O'Leary addressed the impact opioids have had on his community and the state.

"Communities throughout Connecticut have been suffering the devastating effects of this opioid epidemic for years and we in Waterbury believe it is time to take a stand," he said in a statement. "The effects stretch throughout the state and have destroyed families, flooded emergency rooms and overwhelmed emergency services."

Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder Paul Hanly said Waterbury is the first city in the state to join the list of municipalities across the nation going after drug companies.

"The defendants have manufactured, promoted and marketed opioids by omitting critical information that has long been known about the drugs' addictive qualities and other risks associated with their prolonged use," he said.

The defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Co. Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; Cephalon Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Dr. Perry Fine; Dr. Scott Fishman and Dr. Lynn Webster.

The lawsuit claims the pharmaceutical companies deceptively marketed, and flooded the city with prescription painkillers. That's resulted in Waterbury incurring additional costs related to termination or suspension of employees due to opioid addiction, lost productivity, and a need for drug monitoring and testing of city employees.

Check back later for a more detailed story.