Tacoma sues top drug manufacturers, alleging lies about opioids

TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma on Wednesday became at least the second Western Washington city to file a lawsuit against prescription drug manufacturers in an effort to stem the opioid abuse crisis.

The city said the lawsuit, which was filed against Purdue, Endo and Janssen, is intended to hold them accountable for “false and misleading information” to both doctors and patients about the safety of prescription opioids over the last 20 years.

"We will vigorously pursue these claims and are exploring all of our available options at this time as we work to protect our community members from the harm caused by the companies that put their profits ahead of our community’s safety,” city manager Elizabeth Pauli wrote in a press release.

Everett filed a similar lawsuit against Purdue in March.

A press release from Tacoma said an estimated 50 percent of Tacoma’s homeless population is addicted to opioids. It said opioid-related crime has soared, and said the city must devote fire-department and human-service resources to battling the fallout.

The city hired the law firm Keller Rohrback to represent it in the litigation.