The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has approved the filing of a lawsuit in federal district court against six of the largest opioid manufacturers.
They include Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Inc., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and the three largest distributors of prescription drugs; McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., and AmersourceBergen Drug Corporation.
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe alleges these companies used deceptive marketing tactics, intended to maximize profits while minimizing the addictive nature of the drugs and the health risks to patients.
“The opioid epidemic has taken the entire United States by storm. Its impact has been particularly heavy here in Indian Country. Our tribal communities have endured many challenges and adversities in our history and found a way to survive,” says Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson Sr “The crisis caused by the proliferation of opiates throughout our communities is the newest threat to our way of life. We hope this lawsuit will help to bring further attention to this major issue and ultimately make sure the major opioid manufacturers, who have put their corporate profit margins over the lives of our people, are held accountable for their actions.”
Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that in 2014 Native Americans had the highest rate per 100,000 people of opioid overdoses. In the four-county area containing Leech Lake’s tribal lands, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased dramatically.