Bexar County has filed a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers and distributors that it says are responsible for “causing and contributing” to an addiction epidemic that has plagued San Antonio and the county, whose residents die of overdoses at the third-highest rate in the state.
The suit, filed Thursday in state district court, follows the commissioners’ decision in October to pursue litigation against a long list of companies, including Purdue Pharma, the maker of the synthetic opioid OxyContin.
A pair of local firms, Phipps Anderson Deacon LLP and Watts Guerra LLP, are bringing the lawsuit on the county’s behalf.
Charges in the lawsuit include public nuisance, fraud, misrepresentation, various forms of negligence, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices and Texas Controlled Substances acts.
“They defrauded doctors, telling them that opioids were not addictive, that you could prescribe as much as you want and didn’t have to worry about causing these long-term problems,” Martin J. Phipps, the lead attorney in the suit, said at a Wednesday morning news conference. “And then the other thing they did, which makes it so significant to us, is they focused on our military.”