Nevada sues opioid manufacturers, distributors

Citing an “ecosystem of addiction,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced Monday he is expanding a complaint against manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and individuals the state says are responsible for the opioid addiction crisis in Nevada.

The lawsuit lists more than 40 defendants, including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Actavis Pharma, Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family who controlled Purdue Pharma, Walgreen Co., Walmart Inc. and CVS Pharmacy.

“Through a systematic marketing campaign, sham ‘medical’ organizations, funded experts, and other shameful tactics, the defendants peddled false science designed to demonstrate that opioids were a safe, non-addictive treatment for pain,” Ford’s office said in a news release.

Ford said in a statement that the defendants came together to create an “unprecedented health crisis for their own profit” in Nevada.

“Their conspiracy to dupe doctors into prescribing more and more deadly and addictive pills has left countless Nevada families and the state suffering in the wake of their greed,” Ford said in the statement. “Their blatant disregard for human life shocks the conscience.”

Nevada is one of several states that have recently sued opioid manufacturers and distributors for their part in the nationwide opioid crisis.

Other states include New Jersey, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. More than 600 cities, as well as several counties and Native American tribes have also filed a federal lawsuit against the Sackler family over the crisis.

In March Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million to settle a historic lawsuit brought by the Oklahoma attorney general.

The Sackler family also agreed to pay the state $75 million, while Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $85 million.

However, Teva said at the time that the agreement “does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company,” and that, “Teva has not contributed to the abuse of opioids in Oklahoma in any way.”