NORFOLK, Va. — The City of Norfolk has filed a federal lawsuit against several drug manufacturers and companies, claiming they are responsible for the nation's opioid epidemic.

Norfolk claims many of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers promoted highly addictive, dangerous opioids, and deliberately misinformed doctors by claiming that patients using the drugs rarely experienced addiction. 

The companies named in the suit include: Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd. (which acquired pharmaceutical maker Cephalon, Inc. in 2011); Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; Mallinckrodt; and Insys Therapeutics, Inc. 

The suit also alleges that three of the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – failed to monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

The lawsuit names the nation’s largest retail pharmacies – CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart – for their role in failing to report suspicious opioid orders.

Norfolk expects the lawsuit to be transferred to the federal district court in the Northern District of Ohio, where hundreds of similar cases filed by state, local, and tribal governments are pending, including a lawsuit filed last year by Virginia Beach.