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Fort Wayne Joins Statewide Opioid Legal Effort

Zach Bernard/WBOI News

Fort Wayne announced Monday it will be joining a mounting legal effort in Indiana against pharmaceutical companies and distributors.

As of November 29, there have already been 26 more opioid-related deaths in Fort Wayne compared to last year, with more than 50 awaiting toxicology reports. The city’s 1,130 non-fatal poisonings this year exceeds 2016’s total of 804.

Fort Wayne’s legal effort will focus on the three largest opioid manufacturers in the country: Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation, who account for 80 percent of the market for prescription opioids.

Mayor Tom Henry says the three companies take in a combined $400 billion in annual revenue, and is confident they could foot the bill if the lawsuit is successful.

“As far as I’m concerned, their primary motivation is not healthcare; it’s profit,” said Henry. “And they should be in a position to give us as much money as they possibly can for the treatment of these individuals they put in harm’s way.”

The city will use the services of Indianapolis-based law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister for its legal representation. If successful, the firm will take 30 percent of the return for its work.

Allen County’s Board of Commissioners also voted unanimously to join the effort last Friday.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.
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