Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Tuesday a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the state against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
- Fla AG Pam Bondi makes lawsuit announcement
- 15 opioid deaths each day in Florida
- About 175 deaths daily across U.S.
- Tuesday, May 22: Spectrum News Original "Town Hall: Opioid Crisis"
"We are not scared to take them on," Bondi said during a press conference held at Riverside Recovery of Tampa.
The suit is being filed against several large pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma LP, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cephalon, Inc. and Allergan.
Distributors named in the lawasuit include AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation and Mallinckrodt LLC.
Bondi said 15 people in Florida and 175 across the country die each day because of opioids.
"We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis," she said. "You'd have to live under a rock to not know that."
Bondi said drug companies have published misinformation downplaying the dangerous effects of these drugs.
The full lawsuit can be found on the My Florida Legal website.
"These dangerous acts and practices has devastating consequences. It's time they pay for results they have caused," she said.
Bondi was joined at the news conference by law enforcement officials, doctors and relatives of opioid abuse victims.
Lisa Brandy said she met Bondi a few years ago. It was a few months after her daughter died from drug abuse.
Brandy said her daughter's timeline with drugs spanned 18 months -- from the time she became addicted to her death.
"We as a community understand that one life is too much," she said. "One hundred and seventy five lives every single day? Somebody has to be accountable. Don't blame the addict anymore and don't blame the parents. Blame 'big pharma' for lying and knowing they created this."
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said it will take continued education and awareness to combat the problem.
"These billion dollar opioid manufactures and distributors are no different than the local suppliers on our street corners," he said.
Florida is the latest state to sue opioid manufacturers. Separate Florida counties have also filed lawsuits. Osceola County filed one earlier this year.
NEVADA ALSO FILES COMPLAINT
Meanwhile, Nevada state Attorney General Adam Laxalt alleges in a civil complaint filed Tuesday in Las Vegas that Purdue Pharma minimized risks and overstated benefits of long-term use of narcotic opioids including OxyContin.
Connecticut-based Purdue denied the claims in an email statement that said it will defend itself.
Company spokesman Bob Josephson says the civil lawsuits followed months of negotiations with state officials to address the opioid crisis.
He says the filing by these attorneys general promises costly and protracted litigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.