Hamilton votes to add drug stores to its opioid lawsuit targeting companies

Seven months after Hamilton and other governments sued companies involved with the opioid crisis, Hamilton City Council on Wednesday voted to take a step toward adding several more defendants, including major drug stores like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, plus stores with prescription-drug businesses, including Kroger and Walmart.

At the end of the council meeting, officials went behind closed doors to discuss the litigation, announcing they might come out afterward to take a vote.

After a few minutes, they returned to a public session, and Council Member Carla Fiehrer made the motion to add the companies.

City leaders did not comment after their unanimous vote. Instead, they released a written statement. It said: “When we filed our initial Complaint in August 2018, the city did not have access to the data maintained by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration known as ARCOS (Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System) which contains information regarding all shipments of opioids in the United States.

“The Federal Court in Cleveland recently allowed us to receive reports naming the manufacturers and distributors who supplied opioids to our city. Based on those reports, we have decided to amend our complaint to add additional manufacturers and distributors whom we believe are among those responsible for the city’s opioid epidemic.”

Fiehrer’s motion called for the city to prepare documents making it possible to amend the lawsuit. The full list in her motion was, “CVS, H.D. Smith, Kroger, Meijer, Par Pharmaceutical, Rite Aid, Spec Gx LLC, Walgreens Co., and Wal-Mart.”

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