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Walsh exploring litigation against pharmaceutical companies for opioid crisis

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.Barry Chin/globe staff/file 2017

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Monday he is considering litigation against several pharmaceutical companies, saying they “irresponsibly saturated the market with opiates, knowingly putting consumers at risk for addiction.”

In a statement, Walsh said he will seek information from “law firms, researchers and other interested parties” on potential opioid litigation. Over the past few months, city officials have been meeting with various law firms and “collecting relevant information in preparation for potential litigation,” the statement said.

In September, state Attorney General Maura Healey announced she and attorneys general from 38 other states were seeking information from five opioid manufacturers and three distributors to determine whether they misrepresented dangers of prescription painkillers.

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In 2016, more than 2,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses, the highest number ever recorded in the state and a 17 percent increase from 2015, according to the state public health department.

In November, Quincy became the first city in the state to sue the pharmaceutical industry for allegedly downplaying the dangers of opioids.


Martha Schick can be reached at martha.schick@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MarthaSchick.