Ohio Sues 5 Pharma Companies ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’

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The state of Ohio has sued five major pharmaceutical companies, essentially claiming they have been ‘fueling’ the state’s ‘opioid epidemic.’

State Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”

Mississipi is the only other state to have filed a similar lawsuit.

Named in the suit are:

  • Purdue Pharma
  • Endo Health Solutions
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon
  • Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals
  • Allergan

The companies are being accused of engaging in a sustained marketing campaign to downplay the addiction risks of the prescription opioid drugs they sell and to exaggerate the benefits of their use for health problems such as chronic pain.

Per DeWine’s office statement release: “lawsuit alleges that the drug companies engaged in fraudulent marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids which fueled Ohio’s opioid epidemic.”

“We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced, and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales,” DeWine tells NPR’s All Things Considered. “And boy, did they increase sales.”

According to the suit:

“Defendants persuaded doctors and patients that what they had long known — that opioids are addictive drugs, unsafe in most circumstances for long-term use — was untrue, and quite the opposite, that the compassionate treatment of pain required opioids.”

“This was not something that the pharmaceutical companies just woke up some day and just started to do a little bit of it,” DeWine told NPR.

Here is DeWine on CBS This Morning back in 2015.

 

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