The State of Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of misrepresenting the addictive risks of painkillers and fueling the national opioid epidemic.
The complaint was filed in state court in Ross County by Ohio’s attorney general Mike DeWine and targets parent companies and several subsidiaries.
Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P., Johnson and Johnson, Teva Pharmaceutical, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Allergan.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 25,000 people died in the United States from overdosing on opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl in 2015.
The states with the highest opioid overdose counts are Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
Over the last two decades, doctors have increasingly prescribed these opioids to treat chronic pain for months or years at a time. This change has been promoted by drug makers to market a broader use of their painkillers.
In his lawsuit, DeWine alleged that drugmakers spend, “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.”
It was also stated that the pharmaceutical companies provide funding to doctors, medical societies, and patient advocacy groups to garner support for the use of their drugs.
The Ohio lawsuit seeks to recover money the state has spent on the opioid drugs through programs such as Medicaid, as well as on addiction treatment.
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