West Virginia hospitals sue opioid companies; want damages

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Hospitals in the state with the nation’s highest opioid overdose rate have banded together to sue some of the country’s largest opioid companies.

The lawsuit was filed by nearly 30 West Virginia hospitals and 10 affiliates in Kentucky. It claims the companies flooded Appalachia with powerful painkillers and forced medical centers to deal with the financial repercussions.

The group’s lawyer says this is the first time a large group of hospitals in a state have joined to take legal action against opioid firms.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and members of its controlling family, the Sacklers, are named as defendants, along with distributors. The companies did not respond to voicemails seeking comment.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to cover the costs of treating people with opioid addictions.