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A lawsuit filed in Madison County circuit court last week by three Metro East veterans says major drug companies concealed the dangers of opioid painkillers and targeted veterans.

The lawsuit mirrors those filed elsewhere by governments and individuals, including suits filed by the city of St. Louis and St. Charles County seeking compensation for the ills of opioid abuse, and comes amid a widespread re-examination of opiod prescription practices and abuse. Other suits have claimed the companies ignored their responsibilities of preventing the abuse of the drugs.

The companies have repeatedly rejected those claims.

Last week's suit was filed on behalf of Joel Bishop, a U.S. Navy veteran from Wood River, and U.S. Marine veterans Dean Coleman of Alton and Pete Lavite of Wood River.

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It says opioid manufacturers targeted veterans because they were more likely to suffer from chronic pain, and also targeted the marketing of opiate painkillers toward the military health care system.

The suit names a long list of pharmaceutical companies, health care companies and pharmacies.

— Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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