Allentown suing to recover opioid epidemic costs

The City of Allentown has filed a federal complaint in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking to recover costs from what the city alleges was false, deceptive, and unfair marketing of prescription opioids by 20 defendants.

The 264-page complaint, filed August 27, alleges that the city has incurred costs related to opioid emergencies requiring the use of EMS teams, police, the city health bureau and more.

Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals are two of the 20 pharmaceutical companies listed as defendants.

The City of Allentown is represented in this litigation by attorneys Joe Khan and John Grogan of Langer Grogan & Diver P.C., a Philadelphia-based law firm.

The firm has been retained on a contingent basis. The City will not be indebted to the firm for any legal fees unless and until a recovery is made.

“The defendants have made huge profits on the manufacture, distribution, marketing and sale of opioids,” Mayor Ray O’Connell said in a news release. “While the city of Allentown and its residents have paid the high costs of providing services directly related to opioid-related emergencies and addictions. This suit is a way to battle back.”

In Lehigh County, 308 people died of drug overdoses between 2016 and 2017, with most of those deaths being related to opioids, according to the city of Allentown. More than a third of these people died within the city limits of Allentown.  Not counting deaths that occurred at hospitals, 72 Allentown residents died of an overdose in 2017.

Opioid addiction has also led to a number of robberies in Allentown according to the city, with more than 1,500 occuring in the last 10 years.

The full complaint can be read here-http://-https://www.allentownpa.gov/Portals/0/files/Mayors-office/Allentown%20Opiod%20Complaint%20Final%20.pdf?ver=2019-08-27-162952-753

Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at dnixon@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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