Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing five pharmaceutical companies for their alleged part in driving an opioid and prescription painkiller overdose epidemic which has ravaged the state and much of the country. The firms named in the suit are Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Teva, Allergan, and Endo International.
DeWine says that the companies' aggressive marketing tactics effectively placed " profits above health and well-being of Ohio consumers," and that the drug makers were aware that their claims about the powerful medicines' addictive capacity were misleading.
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"The evidence is going to show they knew what they were saying was not true and they did it to increase sales," DeWine told a press pool.
Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and other defendants have already faced legal scrutiny over the opioid scourge which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives over the past decade. Orange County and New York jurisdictions have also sued painkiller firms in recent months over alleged fraudulent marketing.
Purdue and other opioid manufacturers say they are committed to solving the addiction and overdose crisis. According to the Columbus Dispatch, more than 4,100 Ohio residents died from unintentional drug overdoses last year alone, a 36% spike over 2015.