The city of Fort Wayne is the latest Indiana community to take legal action in the wake of the opioid epidemic. Mayor Tom Henry announced Monday the city will file a public nuisance lawsuit against the three largest wholesale opioid distributors in the country.
Henry’s office says the city has hired Indianapolis-based law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. The suit will be filed against Pennsylvania-based AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC), Ohio-based Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH), and McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK) in California, which the city says control more than 80 percent of the market for prescription opioids.
“Public health and public safety are critical components to ensuring Fort Wayne is a viable and sustainable community,” said Henry. “It’s our duty to serve and protect the public. Today’s action demonstrates our ongoing commitment to doing all we can to reduce the negative impact that drugs are having on individuals, families, healthcare, law enforcement and the judicial system.”
Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan calls the lawsuit "ground breaking" and says it provides an opportunity to bring much-needed funds back to the community that can be used to fight the opioid crisis.
The announcement of the city’s lawsuit comes just days after the Allen County voted unanimously to hire a Milwaukee-based law firm to file suit against opioid manufacturers and distributors. Our partners at WPTA-TV report the county expects to file the federal lawsuit soon in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
In October, Indianapolis became the first Hoosier community to announce legal action in the fight against opioids with a lawsuit against the same distributors as well as two opioid manufacturers. The city of New Albany followed suit a month later, followed by last week’s announcement that the city of Bloomington and Monroe County will file suit against 13 opioid manufacturers and distributors.