Quincy suing drug companies over toll opioid crisis has taken on city

QUINCY, Mass. (WHDH) — The city of Quincy has planned to sue pharmaceutical companies that make opioids, saying the companies downplayed the dangers of the drugs.

Mayor Thomas Koch said the opioid crisis has taken a serious toll on Quincy and he wants drug makers to pay.

“We’re losing a generation to this issue. So yes, I want to hit them in the pocketbook because that’s the only thing they understand,” said Koch.

Koch said the pharmaceutical industry knew how addictive opioids were and still flooded the market with them.

“I find it hard to believe that they would not be aware of some of the addictive nature of these pills,” said Koch, who is working with a Washington, D.C.-based law firm to pursue the lawsuit.

Quincy has seen 27 opioid-related deaths this year. Last year, 42 people died of opioid-related causes. Police in Quincy were the first in Massachusetts to carry Narcan and their drug unit has now tripled in size.

7News legal analyst Thomas Hoopes said Quincy will have a real challenge with the suit. Hoopes said pharmaceutical companies could point to doctors, pharmacies or patients as being responsible.

“It’s a liability. You’re only going to be liable not if you got federal approval but if you withheld really substantial, meaningful information. If they can that, then I think it all changes,” said Hoopes.

A spokeswoman for PHRMA, a trade group that represents drug makers, said it is working to speed up developing non-opioid pain medicine and treatments for addiction. She would not comment on the lawsuit.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said they are investigating what role drug makers had in creating the epidemic.

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