The defendants named in the suit include manufacturers Allergan Plc, Endo International Plc, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma LP and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and distributors AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp.
Consequently, via mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC is holding the distributing companies at fault for afflicting more than 1,100 opioid-induced deaths in the most populous US city in 2016.
The issue has become especially critical in NY as the city and state grapple with a transit system in crisis - including a subway plagued with delays and cross-Hudson tunnels with problems that routinely disrupt NJ Transit and Amtrak travel into Pennsylvania Station.
Between 2010 and 2016, overdose death rates more than doubled in New York City, where about 2.7 million opioid prescriptions are filled annually.
The lawsuit charges these companies and others with being a 'public nuisance, ' acted negligently in their distribution of opioids and 'were unjustly enriched at the City's expense'.
De Blasio was scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting on Wednesday afternoon and subsequently meet with Trump and other mayors to discuss infrastructure funding. But at around 12:30 p.m., Mayor de Blasio tweeted that he would not be attending the meeting.
New York's lawsuit contends that the present crisis was a direct result of drug companies misrepresenting their product, and distributors flooding the city's market with opioids.
Tuesday's filing follows a suit the city leveled against oil companies, similarly accusing them of contributing to climate change, which the mayor announced on January 10. "And this just proves, once again, that they're not trying to work with American cities", de Blasio said.
New York City is hardly the first government to sue Big Pharma companies over the opioid epidemic. De Blasio is asking for the money to cover damages caused by a high opioid-related death count in the city in recent years, alleging that manufacturers played a role in.
New York City said in its press release that roughly 2.5 million to 2.7 million opioid prescriptions were filled each year from 2014 to 2016.