ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico attorney general’s office added on Wednesday three new pharmaceutical companies to a lawsuit accusing opioid manufacturers and distributors of exacerbating the state’s drug addiction crisis.
Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that Mallinckrodt, Insys, and Noramco were added to a lawsuit in state district court against five of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers and three major wholesale distributors.
The suit accuses opioid manufacturers of aggressively pushing highly addictive and dangerous drugs and falsely representing to doctors that patients would rarely succumb to addiction. It accuses distributors of failing to monitor, investigate and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates.
“The entire pharmaceutical opioid industry, including both manufacturers and distributors together, has been in on the scheme to illegally market and sell opioids to New Mexicans, and we’ve modified our complaint to show that,” Balderas said.
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Balderas said the lawsuit is modeled after past litigation against tobacco companies to funnel private profits toward drug treatment and law enforcement.
The addition comes just as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that last year’s age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths nationwide was more than three times the rate in 1999.
New Mexico’s drug overdose death rate is far above the national average of 19.8 per 100,000 residents. The state’s rate is 25.2 per 100,000 residents.