Missoula to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies


    On Wednesday the Missoula City Council will meet for the Committee of the Whole meeting. The lone agenda item is opioid litigation. (Cropped Photo: David Kessler / CC BY-SA 2.0 / MGN)

    On Wednesday the Missoula City Council will meet for the Committee of the Whole meeting. The lone agenda item is opioid litigation.

    The city says pharmaceutical companies are responsible for flooding the market with opioids and contributing to the opioid crisis. The city says they have to pay more for public safety because of opioid addiction.

    The agreement the city will consider compares Missoula to other communities across Montana. Great Falls and Lake County have made similar agreements to sue pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid crisis.

    Missoula Mayor John Engen is expected to sign the agreement retaining the law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier, P.C. and Montana Litigation Counsel. They will sue more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies for “fraudulent marketing and sales of opioids.”

    The city says they spend money on medical aid calls as a result of overdose, funding agencies that help addicts and picking up used hypodermic needles in city parks -- all elements of the opioid crisis.

    They say they have a good chance of winning some cases.

    The city of Missoula will not have to pay anything to retain the law firm. If Missoula wins any of the cases, the lawyers will take a cut of the financial reward. If Missoula does not win any cases, the law firm will not charge the city anything.

    The Committee of the Whole meeting will take place Wednesday at 9:25 a.m. in City Council Chambers at 140 W. Pine St.

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