For example, four counties in the state of New York have filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and physicians for their aggressive and misleading marketing tactics. And now, Attorney General Mike DeWine, hailing from Ohio, has thrown his hat into the ring -- and plans on taking five pharma companies to court, where hopefully justice will prevail.
DeWine says that between the promotion of "benefits" not supported by any scientific evidence, and the fraudulent information presented to patients in order to mislead them, it's clear that the companies behind the drugs have played a serious part in the opioid epidemic striking Ohio.
The Attorney General filed his complaint against five drugmakers in Ross County, which is located in southern Ohio. The area has been hit hard by painkiller addiction, and fatal overdoses from opioids or heroin. Studies have shown that opioid abuse often predicates the use of heroin or other injectable drugs. Data collected between 2008 and 2009 revealed that in young users, nearly 86 percent had abused opioid painkillers before moving onto heroin. As the National Institute of Drug Abuse reports, "Of those who began abusing opioids in the 2000s, 75 percent reported that their first opioid was a prescription drug (Cicero et al., 2014). Examining national-level general population heroin data (including those in and not in treatment), nearly 80 percent of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin (Jones, 2013; Muhuri et al., 2013)."
To put it simply, Big Pharma is not just responsible for those who die via prescription drugs. Many heroin-related deaths are also on their hands. And it seems that DeWine is intent on making them pay for their crimes.
"This lawsuit is about justice, it's about fairness, it's about what is right," he said in his announcement.
A staggering 3,050 Ohio residents died in 2015 alone -- and for 2016, the death toll is expected to be even higher once the numbers are released.
"These drug companies knew that what they were doing was wrong and they did it anyway," DeWine commented further. Purdue Pharma; Endo Health Solutions; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and its subsidiary, Cephalon; Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and Allergan are the five companies that he has taken action against. DeWine says that he wants an injunction placed to stop these companies from continuing along with their misdeeds, damages for money spent by the state on opiates that were marketed and sold in the state of Ohio -- and he wants customers who were given unneeded opiate prescriptions for chronic pain to be refunded.
Opioids are purported to be some sort of "miracle" pain reliever, but the fact is that they are nothing of the sort -- and they are particularly ineffective for long-term use. At least 60 deaths per day are attributed to opioids, and the epidemic has become so problematic that even major pharmaceutical companies have had no choice but to admit to their fraud. Last fall, Pfizer came forward and admitted that opioid drugs "carry serious risk of addiction—even when used properly."
Will DeWine succeed in bringing the perpetrators of the opioid epidemic to their knees -- and will other states follow his lead and take action against Big Pharma? Follow more news on the dangers of opioids and other drugs at DangerousMedicine.com.