I

n what is shaping up as a national trend, yet another local government has filed a lawsuit accusing several drug makers of spreading the opioid epidemic by deliberately downplaying risks and improperly encouraging prescribing of the addictive painkillers. And the latest to do so is Erie County, N.Y., in the western-most corner of the state, which includes the city of Buffalo.

The lawsuit alleged that four companies — Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Endo International — caused the county government to spend millions of dollars each year in its efforts to combat the epidemic. The lawsuit, which was filed in state court in New York, also named four physicians, who purportedly assisted the drug makers.

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