WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he had spoken with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about bringing a lawsuit against companies involved in the opioid business.
"I've also spoken with Jeff (Sessions) about bringing a lawsuit against some of these opioid companies," Trump said at a 'summit' hosted by the White House on the nation's opioid crisis. "Hopefully we can do some litigation against the opioid companies."
Hundreds of states, counties and cities have sued drugmakers and distributors, saying the manufacturers have deceptively marketed opioids and distributors have failed to take action against indications the painkillers were diverted for improper uses.
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On Tuesday, Sessions announced that the federal government would seek reimbursement from major drug companies and distributors to recoup costs from the opioid epidemic. The Justice Department will file a "statement of interest" in consolidated litigation on opioids.
It was not immediately clear whether, in his remarks at the summit, Trump was referring to that Justice Department action or pressing for further steps.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, the last year with publicly available data.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Lisa Lambert)