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Big Pharma Sued For Sparking 'Nightmare' Addiction Epidemic With 'Fraud And Deception'

22 June 2017

Fabick and Hawley stood together in St. Louis as the state's top lawyer announced he was suing three pharmaceutical giants he claims are responsible for a "coordinated campaign of fraud and deception" that has led to Missouri's current opioid crisis.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit Wednesday against three of the largest manufacturers of opioids, accusing the companies of violating Missouri's consumer protection laws. It's alleged that these companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks of the drugs they manufacture.

Two other states have filed similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies: MS in 2015 and OH in May.

He said his hope is that the money will go toward drug rehabilitation and other services for families impacted by addiction.

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Hawley said the companies were chosen in the lawsuit because he's confident about the evidence the office has about their fraud and they make up the "lion's share" of the opioid market. Missouri's death rate from opioids is 1.6 times greater than the national average, and the state recorded 30,000 hospitalizations and emergency-room visits tied to opioids in 2015 - a 200% increase from a decade earlier, Mr. Hawley said in an interview.

"If this sounds like a nightmare, it has definitely been a nightmare for our family", Helen's mother, Jammie Fabick, said during a news conference Wednesday with Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. Hawley contends that this resulted in thousands of patients being given unnecessary opioids prescriptions.

"We seek one of the largest judgments in Missouri history".

Purdue, J&J and Endo were previously sued in similar lawsuits by the OH and MS attorneys general, who also targeted Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Allergan Plc. 300 more died from heroin, another drug commonly associated with opioid abuse.

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Janssen said in a statement that it acted appropriately and responsibly, adding that its opioid pain medications were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and carry mandated warnings about their known risks.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals haven't responded to a request for comment.

Yet Missouri remains the only state that has failed to create a prescription drug monitoring system, a database that allows doctors and pharmacists to keep track of patients' prescriptions. Attorneys general in several other states have also launched probes into the industry.

Mississippi's attorney general was the first to file a lawsuit in 2015, while Ohio's attorney general filed a similar case last month.

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Hawley, a Republican, filed suit St. Louis Circuit Court, naming Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. "The thing is, everybody's looking for someone to blame for the harms we've seen".

Big Pharma Sued For Sparking 'Nightmare' Addiction Epidemic With 'Fraud And Deception'