(AP) - County officials in Cleveland are suing several large prescription drug companies saying they intentionally misled the public about the dangers of opioids.
The lawsuit filed Friday by Cuyahoga County says the drugmakers and distributors sought to increase sales of painkillers and contributed to the opioid abuse crisis.
The complaint names some of the largest companies in the pharmaceutical industry. The lawsuit also accuses four doctors of downplaying the risk of prescription opioids in research funded by the drug companies.
The companies have denied wrongdoing in response to similar lawsuits filed around the country.
More than 540 people fatally overdosed on opioids last year in Cuyahoga County. The county Medical Examiner's Office estimates close to 800 could die this year.
The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.