SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, Dec. 14, the town of Greenfield filed a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical companies for failing to properly monitor the distribution of the opioids they manufactured.
The Greenfield suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, rests in part on the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which requires drug companies to report unusually large or otherwise suspicious orders, according to a report by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
In response to the lawsuit, State Senator Eric P. Lesser issued the following statement:
“Make no mistake: deliberate decisions were made by Big Pharma companies to flood our communities with super-powerful painkillers, knowing full well these drugs were highly addictive and prone to misuse. The result is one of the worst public health emergencies in American history and thousands of devastated families in Western Massachusetts.
“The evidence is mounting that these companies marketed these drugs and put them in the hands of patients knowing how addictive they are and knowing the power they had to destroy lives. I’m glad Greenfield is taking this courageous step at holding Big Pharma accountable. I hope more communities, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, take this case on as well.”
Senator Lesser has been a leader in fighting the opioid epidemic. Most recently, he sponsored an amendment to the Senate’s healthcare reform package that included funding for research into medication-assisted treatment to explore alternative treatments for pain. In January 2015, Senator Lesser filed a bill that served as a blueprint for the Massachusetts bulk purchasing program for Narcan, an opiate overdose-reversal drug.
You can read more about Senator Lesser’s work to address the opioid epidemic here.