Ohio Wants To Hold Drug Companies Responsible For The Opioid Epidemic

The suit is filed in Ross County because southern OH is ground zero for opioid addiction, DeWine said.

Ohio's attorney general said the state is suing five drugmakers, alleging they fueled the opioid crisis by misrepresenting the addictive risks of their painkillers.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Allergan, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon, and Johnson & Johnson with its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals. DeWine said the lawsuit is among the most comprehensive taken by any state against a broad group of opioid analgesic makers.

"These drug companies knew that what they were doing was wrong and they did it anyway", DeWine said.

But the companies are disputing that they're responsible for the problem.

She said Janssen has acted responsibly regarding its opioid pain medications, which are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and carry FDA-mandated warnings on their labels about the drugs' known risks. Many people became addicted by taking powerful opioid painkillers, and often then turned to heroin if they couldn't get access to pills. At least 4,149 Ohioans died from it in 2016, a 36 percent jump from the previous year, when OH also led the nation in overdose deaths.

The lawsuit alleges 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".

DeWine says these companies have been deceptive and have put profits ahead of the well-being of Ohioans. Another potential candidate for governor in 2018, current Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, told the Dayton Daily News this issue is personal for her. Taylor explained her two sons have fought their own battles against opioid addiction.

OH became the second state to file a lawsuit against major drug companies, following Mississippi.

The state of OH has filed a massive lawsuit against 5 drug companies who sell prescription pain killers in the state, charging them with knowingly downplaying the risks of addiction with doctors and patients. OH is at the helm of the country's opiate problem, with more than 4,000 residents fatally overdosing a year ago.

Endo declined comment. A message was left seeking comment with Allergan.

The lawsuit alleges that these companies engaged in fraudulent marketing practices that "helped unleash a healthcare crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social and deadly consequences for the state of OH".

In a statement to Consumerist, Teva says, "We are reviewing the complaint filed today by the Ohio Attorney General in the Ross County Court of Common Pleas".

OH is not alone in pointing a finger at Big Pharma for abetting opioid misuse.

On the Democratic side, Sen.

A number of other states, cities and even the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma have sued drug companies for selling and distributing amounts of addictive drugs they argue far exceed the medical needs of patients.

In 2015, Kentucky settled a similar lawsuit with Purdue Pharma for $24 million, and OR settled with another opioid painkiller manufacturer.

  • Anthony Vega