On Wednesday, the state of Ohio filed a lawsuit against five major drug companies because they misrepresented the risks of prescription opioid painkillers.
They are attributing this to the reason that the drug addiction epidemic has skyrocketed.
Opioid addition includes both prescription pain killers and heroin. It has killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 in the United States alone, which is more than any year in the record of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General, Mike DeWine, after several state and local governments are suing both the drug makers and their distributors. They are looking to hold these companies accountable for the rise in the deadly opioid crisis.
Millions of dollars have been spent in marketing and promoting drugs like OxyContin and Percocet, according to DeWine, which overstated their benefits and did not clearly state how additive they actually were.
He went on to say, “these companies continue to mislead the public.”
Janssen spokesman Jessica Castles Smith said in an emailed statement: “The allegations in this lawsuit are both legally and factually unfounded.”
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.
Purdue said in an emailed statement: “We share the attorney general’s concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions.” Allergan and Teva declined to comment. Endo could not immediately be reached. The suit, filed in Ross County, in Southern Ohio, where addiction has hit hard, alleges the drug companies violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, committed Medicaid fraud, and created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements. It seeks to halt deceptive practices, a declaration the companies acted illegally and unspecified damages to the state and consumers.