Ohio AG suing drug companies over opiate crisis

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Attorney General said Wednesday a lawsuit has been filed against pharmaceutical companies over the state’s growing opiate crisis.scheduled a news conference Wednesday to announce the filing of major litigation.

Click the image to read the 107-page complaint filed Wednesday by the Ohio AG’s Office.

The announcement was made at a news conference Wednesday in what Mike DeWine called “major litigation”.

DeWine said Wednesday the lawsuit was filed in the Ross County Courthouse in Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit names five of the largest pharmaceutical companies claiming they have a significant role in the current opiate crisis. DeWine said the evidence will show that pain killers produced by these companies got thousands of Ohioans addicted to opiates which lead to the cheaper alternative of heroin.

“We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans — our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids — addicted to opioid pain medications, which has all too often led to use of the cheaper alternatives of heroin and synthetic opioids.  These drug manufacturers led prescribers to believe that opioids were not addictive, that addiction was an easy thing to overcome, or that addiction could actually be treated by taking even more opioids” said DeWine. “They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway — and they continue to do it.  Despite all evidence to the contrary about the addictive nature of these pain medications, they are doing precious little to take responsibility for their actions and to tell the public the truth.”

The five manufacturers which are listed as defendants include:

  • Purdue Pharma, which sold OxyContin, MS Contin, Dilaudid, Butrans, Hyslingla, and Targiniq
  • Endo Health Solutions, which sold Percocet, Percodan, Opana, and Zydone
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon, which sold Actiq and Fentora
  • Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which sold Duragesic and Nucynta
  • Allergan, which sold Kadian, Norco, and several generic opioids

The lawsuit alleges, among several counts, that the drug companies violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids. This false marketing included medical journal advertising, sales representative statements, and the use of front groups to deliver information which downplayed the risks and inflated the benefits of certain formulations of opioids. This behavior proliferated the prescription of opioids and fueled the opioid epidemic Ohio is currently facing.

“This lawsuit today is about accountability,”

“This lawsuit today is about accountability,” DeWine said. “This lawsuit is about justice, fairness. It is about what it right,” DeWine continued.

According to Mike DeWine Ohio is the second state to file such a lawsuit after Mississippi.

In the lawsuit, Attorney General DeWine is seeking the following remedies, including:

  • A declaration that the companies’ actions were illegal
  • An injunction to stop their continued deceptions and misrepresentations and to abate the harm they have caused
  • Damages for the money that the State spent on the opioids that these companies sold and marketed in Ohio and for other costs of their deceptive acts
  • Repayment to consumers who, like the State, paid for unnecessary opioid prescriptions for chronic pain.

2 NEWS is in Columbus covering the announcement will have complete coverage online and on air starting with FIVE ON 2.

 

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