Request for Information to explore litigation against pharmaceutical companies involved in opioid crisis
February 5, 2018
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a Request for Information (RFI) to inform the City of Boston's approach to potential litigation against pharmaceutical companies and other entities contributing to the opioid crisis. The City seeks to gather information from qualified law firms, universities, think tanks, hospitals, governmental entities, researchers, and any other interested parties to help inform the City's approach for developing best practice legal and other strategies to recoup public money in the form of damages arising from the City's use of its public services to combat the resulting opioid crisis.
The RFI asks that interested applicants evaluate the financial, social, and other costs caused by the reckless dissemination of opioids and the misleading information about the safety and purpose of their use.
"The pharmaceutical industry is the main offender and sustainer of the opioid crisis," said Mayor Walsh. "They were irresponsible in their practices and turned their heads the other way to increase profits, causing irreversible devastation to our families and significant damages to cities nationwide. In Boston, we are addressing the opioid crisis from every angle, from creating the first municipal recovery office to investing in more services and building a state-of-the-art recovery facility on Long Island. We, like so many towns and cities across the country, have invested the time, money and resources. Now is the time to finally hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible."
Based upon the responses received, the City may enter into an agreement for legal services with a qualified attorney or law firm. The City may also choose to explore other contracts, projects and remedies to address this growing public health crisis. The goals of any litigation or other endeavor shall be to recoup public money in the form of damages arising from the City's use of its public services to respond to the opioid epidemic; and create long-term solutions including rehabilitation services and support networks for all impacted residents of the City of Boston and their families.
Having been in recovery for over 20 years, Mayor Walsh understands firsthand how easily addiction can take hold and how difficult it can be to recover. In his first term, Mayor Walsh made expanding access to recovery services in Boston a priority by creating the Office of Recovery Services to study substance use in Boston and lead the city's strategy around substance use disorders, addiction and recovery. This is the first and only municipal recovery office in the nation.
In addition, Mayor Walsh mandated the life-saving medication naloxone (Narcan) be carried in every public safety vehicle in the city in his first two weeks in office and launched a new 24/7 hotline through 311 to help people struggling with addiction access all levels of recovery services.
Continuing these efforts into his second term, Mayor Walsh announced in his inaugural speech earlier this month that his Administration will rebuild the Long Island Bridge and invest in a comprehensive, long-term recovery facility on Long Island. These new services will offer a continuum of care, from harm reduction, to detox, to residential treatment, to transitional housing and ongoing peer support, and equip people with the opportunity to rebuild a life.
All responses or questions to the RFI should be submitted to John Natoli at John.Natoli@boston.gov. The City shall accept responses up to noon EST on March 12, 2018.