The State of Ohio is taking aim at the pharmaceutical industry, filing suit against four companies for allegedly conducting marketing campaigns that misled doctors and patients about the serious risk of addiction and overdose associated with opioids, according to the New York Times.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit claims that the powerful painkillers were originally intended to treat acute, or short-term pain. But in the past 20 years, doctors have started doling out the drugs for less acute pain, and for stretches of months or years, contributing to a national prescription drug epidemic for which opioids reign supreme.
More than 25,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The painkillers are now responsible for killing more Americans than homicides.
DeWine’s lawsuit claims that drug companies promoted their opioids, spending “millions of dollars on promotional activities and materials that falsely deny or trivialize the risks of opioids while overstating the benefits of using them for chronic pain.”
Ohio’s lawsuit names drug companies such as Purdue Pharma, Teve Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Allergan.
Ohio isn’t the only state to take aim at drug companies for allegdly negligently peddling the highly addictive painkillers. Mississippi filed a similar suit against opioid manufacturers in 2015, and West Virginia targeted drug distributors, reaching settlements in the tens of millions. The City of Chicago, and counties in New York, California, and West Virginia have also filed lawsuits against the drug makers.
Source: New York Times