It seeks damages to compensate the state for the additional costs of dealing with the ongoing epidemic, and refunds for OH consumers who allegedly paid for unnecessary opioid prescriptions for chronic pain.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit Wednesday against at least five pharmaceutical companies considered central to the opioid epidemic now sweeping across the U.S. The filing is not the first legal action against painkiller manufacturers, but its inclusion of five large drug manufacturers makes it one of the most sweeping.
DeWine said opioid addiction has taken an extraordinary human and financial toll on OH, which has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates of any state. "These drug manufacturers knew what they were doing was wrong, but they continued to do it anyway".
A Janssen spokeswoman told ABC News that the company "acted appropriately, responsibly and in the best interests of patients regarding our opioid pain medications, which are FDA-approved and carry FDA-mandated warnings about the known risks of the medications on every product label". Mike DeWine accuses Purdue and the other defendants of violating state law by making false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids.
The effects of the opioid crisis have been felt across the United States, and OH is not the first to sue drug companies.
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As All Things Considered notes, the state of OH estimates some 200,000 people within its borders are addicted to opioids - a number roughly the same as Akron's entire population.
Opioid addiction has led to the deaths of thousands of people and the state witnessed a 366 percent increase in drug overdose deaths from 2000 to 2012, according to statistics released by the governor's office in 2014.
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. He said the only other similar lawsuit was filed by MS in state court in December 2015, alleging similar wrongdoing against the same five companies. The companies Endo Health Services and Allergan declined to comment.
Another gubernatorial contender, Democratic state Sen.
Purdue said it shares DeWine's concerns about the opioid crisis and wants to work together on a solution. Teva says it's still reviewing the lawsuit and is unable to comment. Joe Schiavoni, said he had previously called for such an action.
A growing number of state and local governments are suing drug makers and distributors, seeking to hold them accountable for the opioid crisis.
In 2015, Kentucky settled a similar lawsuit with Purdue Pharma for $24 million, and OR settled with another opioid painkiller manufacturer.