Mara Elliott
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced litigation Thursday against opioid manufacturers including Purdue Pharma for what she called their role in the country’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis.

The federal lawsuit also names members of the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma. Elliott’s lawsuit is aimed at forcing the defendants to fund rehabilitation and drug-education programs in the city and recoup the funds the city has spent on medical treatment for opioid abuse and homelessness caused by opioid abuse.

Purdue Pharma officials could not be reached for immediate comment on the lawsuit.

With the lawsuit, Elliott said she expects to join more cities, counties and states to form a multi-district litigation.

“Opioid manufacturers have profited handsomely from the human suffering they intentionally inflicted through manipulation and deceit,” Elliott said. “While San Diego will long deal with the destructive consequences of their greed, we intend to hold them accountable for funding drug treatment and education programs that will protect the health and safety of San Diegans.”

Elliott’s office plans to prosecute the pharmaceutical companies and the Sackler family for allegedly violating the state’s “unfair competition” law and for violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In addition to the manufacturers, opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and the McKesson Corporation are also named in the suit.

–City News Service