Ohio Sues Drug Makers, Saying They Aided Opioid Epidemic

The New York Times
May 31, 2017

Michael P. Canty encouraged by attorneys general moving forward in proposed litigation surrounding opioid epidemic

On May 31, the State of Ohio filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid epidemic, accusing several drug companies of conducting marketing campaigns that misled doctors and patients about the danger of addiction and overdose. The defendants in the case include Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allergan, and others.

Firm partner Micahel P. Canty remarked, “We are in ongoing discussions with attorneys general about what can only be described as a national epidemic.”

According to the article, the drugs, either derived from opium or synthetic analogs of those narcotics, now kill more Americans than homicide, and are approaching traffic accidents as a cause of death.

Opioids were once used primarily for acute, or short-term pain, but over the last two decades, doctors have increasingly prescribed them to treat chronic pain, giving them to patients for months or years at a stretch. Drug makers promoted that shift, AG DeWine charged in his suit, spending “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.”