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Health Highlights: June 14, 2017

Michigan's Health Department Head Charged in Connection With Flint Water Crisis Tennessee Prosecutors Sue Opioid Painkiller Makers

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Michigan's Health Department Head Charged in Connection With Flint Water Crisis

A charge of involuntary manslaughter was filed against the head of the Michigan health department on Wednesday.

Nick Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area, which some experts have linked to poor water quality in 2014-15. Lyon's failure to act led to at least one death, special agent Jeff Seipenko, a member of the state attorney general's team, told a judge, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

There were nearly 100 cases of Legionnaire's disease in the Flint area, including 12 deaths, in 2014 and 2015.

Lyon is the highest-ranking member of Gov. Rick Snyder's administration to be charged as part of a criminal investigation of Flint's lead-contaminated water, CBS/AP reported.

Also on Wednesday, the state's chief medical officer, Dr. Eden Wells, was charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.


Tennessee Prosecutors Sue Opioid Painkiller Makers

A lawsuit against three pharmaceutical companies that make opioid painkillers was filed Tuesday by three Tennessee prosecutors.

The legal action was launched by the district attorneys general for three east Tennessee judicial districts collectively representing nine counties. They blame Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt and Endo Pharmaceuticals for the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, USA Today reported.

The lawsuit alleges the companies lied about the addictive nature of prescription opiates and actively promoted the drugs as miracle cures for many types of pain.

Tennessee has more opiate prescriptions per capita than any state other than West Virginia, USA Today reported.

Similar lawsuits against prescription opioid makers have been filed in Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, New York California and Washington, and by The Cherokee Nation in tribal court.

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