The city of Baltimore will sue two drug companies as well as local businesses over the marketing of opioids, in an effort to stem the drug abuse epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year.
Baltimore City Solicitor Andre Davis announced the lawsuits Wednesday and said the companies marketed opioids knowing that the high number of pills would be “destructive of lives," the Baltimore Sun reports.
“They were reckless. They were intentional. It was marketing; it was greed,” Davis said at a press conference.
The city's lawsuit targets drug manufacturer Purdue and distributor McKessen, as well as local businesses that city officials describe as "pill mills."
Davis said any damages won in the lawsuit would be used by the city to alleviate the rising police and health care costs associated with the opioid epidemic.
The Sun reports that 523 fatal opioid overdoses occurred in the city between January and September of last year.
Baltimore's lawsuit follows one filed by New York City last week against eight companies that make or distribute prescription opioids, including the two companies targeted by Baltimore's suit. New York saw more than 1,000 fatal overdoses due to opioids in 2016.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has accused pharmaceutical companies of deceptive marketing.
“Big Pharma helped to fuel this epidemic by deceptively peddling these dangerous drugs and hooking millions of Americans in exchange for profit,” de Blasio said in a statement last week. “It’s time to hold the companies accountable for what they’ve done to our City, and help save more lives.”