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Ohio Sues Big Pharma for Misleading Opioid Marketing

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Santa Clara, CAA deceptive opioid medication marketing lawsuit has been initiated against five prescription opioid manufacturers over allegations of fraudulent marketing and misrepresentation of the risks associated with these drugs, specifically the risk for addiction.

Filed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the 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.

The suit names Purdue Pharma, marketer of OxyContin, MS Contin, Dilaudid, Butrans, Hyslingla, and Targiniq; Endo Health Solutions, the marketer of Percocet, Percodan, Opana and Zydone; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon, the marketers Actiq and Fentora; Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, marketers of Duragesic and Nucynta; and Allergan, marketer of Kadian, Norco and a multitude of generic opioids.

The lawsuit contends that the drug companies engaged in misleading marketing, specifically as it relates to the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, which has fueled the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

"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," DeWine said in a statement.

DeWine contends that the 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.

“They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway, and they continue to do it,” DeWine said.

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