Ohio Attorney General Sues Five Major Drug Companies for Opioid Epidemic

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in a 107 page complaint filed May 31, 2017 in the Court of Common Pleas, Ross County Ohio, alleges five drug manufacturers “Helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”

Named in the suit are:

Purdue Pharma

Endo Health Solutions

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon

Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals


The lawsuit alleges, “Drug companies should never place their desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers or the communities where those customers live. Because they know prescribing doctors and other health-care providers rely on drug companies’ statements in making treatment decisions, drug companies must tell the truth when marketing their drugs and ensure that their marketing claims are supported by science and medical evidence”.

The lawsuit further alleges, “Defendants broke these simple rules and helped unleash a healthcare crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio”.

The lawsuit goes on to allege, “Defendants manufacture, market, and sell prescription opioids, including brand-name drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet, and generics like oxycodone and hydrodone, which are powerful narcotic painkillers. Historically, because they were considered too addictive and debilitation for the treatment of chronic pain (like back pain, migraines and arthritis), opioids were used only to treat short-term acute pain or for palliative (end-of life) care”.

The lawsuit alleges, “However, by the late 1990s, and continuing today, each Defendant began a marketing scheme designed to persuade doctors and patients that opioids can and should be used for chronic pain, a far broader group of patients much more likely to become addicted and suffer other adverse effects from the long-term use of opioids. In connection with this scheme, each Defendant spent, and continues to 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. As to the risks, Defendants falsely and misleadingly, and contrary to the language of their drugs’ labels: (1) downplayed the serious risk of addiction; (2) promoted the concept of ‘pseudoaddiction’ and thus advocated that the signs of addiction should be treated with more opioids; (3) exaggerated the effectiveness of screening tools in preventing addiction; (4) claimed that opioid dependence and withdrawal are easily managed; (5) denied the risks of higher opioid dosages; and (6) exaggerated the effectiveness of ‘abuse-deterrent’ opioid formulations to prevent abuse and addiction. Conversely, Defendants also falsely touted the benefits of long-term opioid use, including the supposed ability of opioids to improve function and quality of life, even though there was no ‘good evidence’ to support Defendants’ claims”.

The attorneys at Oliver Law Firm are closely watching the developments in this lawsuit as it effects babies. If you want to know more about this topic, just give us a call 479-202-5200 or drop by. We are located at 3606 Southern Hills Blvd, Suite 200, Rogers, AR 72758.