Wisconsin lawsuit blames drug makers for opioid disaster


Nearly two dozen Wisconsin counties are suing makers of prescription painkillers, alleging in a federal lawsuit Tuesday that the businesses’ “nefarious and deceptive” advertising and marketing campaigns precipitated the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages and says the county well being and legislation enforcement companies “have been strained to the breaking point” due to the overdose disaster that has claimed 1000’s of lives. More than two dozen states, cities and counties have filed comparable lawsuits in opposition to pharmaceutical corporations, accusing them of constructing false claims concerning the risks of their medication to make a revenue.

“Defendants’ goal was simple: to dramatically increase sales by convincing doctors that it was safe and efficacious to prescribe opioids to treat not only the kind of severe and short-term pain badociated with surgery or cancer, but also for a seemingly unlimited array of less severe, longer-term pain, such as back pain and arthritis to name but two examples,” the lawsuit filed within the Eastern District of Wisconsin says.

Drug corporations knew their “products were addictive, subject to abuse, and not safe or efficacious for long-term use,” that lawsuit says. It names Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and subsidiaries of the businesses. Three medical doctors in California and Utah are additionally listed.

“We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense,” Purdue Pharma stated in a press release that additionally stated the corporate is “deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution.”

Endo Health Solutions stated in a press release its “top priorities include patient safety and ensuring that patients with chronic pain have access to safe and effective therapeutic options” whereas stopping opioid abuse. It stated it could not remark additional on pending litigation. Johnson & Johnson didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail asking for remark.

More than 52,000 Americans died in 2015 from drug overdoses, most of them involving prescription opioids or badociated illicit medication equivalent to fentanyl and heroin, in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Wisconsin, 1,824 individuals died from opioid overdoses from 2013 to 2015, in accordance with the lawsuit. One of the native governments taking authorized motion, Washington County, with a inhabitants of about 131,900, had 542 hospitalizations involving opioids final yr, in accordance with the lawsuit, and 70 opioid overdose deaths from 2013 to 2016.

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