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Seeking Payback for Opioid Costs, Manchester Files Suit Against Drug Makers

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Last month, New Hampshire became the latest state to go after Purdue Pharma, alleging the company’s marketing practices were partially to blame for the state’s opioid epidemic. Now, the city of Manchester is also suing Purdue — as well as other opioid manufacturers and distributors — seeking payback for the cost it's incurred because of the drug crisis.

The city’s 234-page complaint, filed Friday in Hillsborough County Court North, minces no words. It begins: “This case is about one thing: Corporate greed. Defendants put their desire for profits above the health and well-being of the City of Manchester, its residents and consumers, all at the cost of the plaintiff.”

Those defendants in this case include Purdue Pharma as well as several other opioid manufacturers and distributors: Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Cephalon, Allergan and Endo Pharmaceuticals, among others.

In the lawsuit, attorneys representing Manchester claim the city was forced to spend "millions of dollars" on healthcare, public safety and lost productivity related to opioid addiction. The city doesn’t specify the amount it’s seeking in damages but does ask for "compensatory damages in an amount sufficient to fairly and completely compensate" Manchester for the damage it's incurred because of the drug crisis.

The lawsuit was filed with the help of a New York-based firm, Napoli Shkolnik, that's handled similar cases on behalf of towns and counties in New York, Ohio and elsewhere.

Nashua is examining whether to pursue its own opioid-related lawsuit, and a Napoli Shkolnik attorney told NHPR last month that the firm is also talking with other New Hampshire communities about possible litigation.

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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