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Can Drug Companies Be Held Accountable For The Opioid Crisis?

Although every state in the country has been touched by the nation’s opioid epidemic, Ohio is at the epicenter of the problem

June 16


(press release: summitbehavioralhealth) // New Jersey // Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC | Chief Clinical Officer

In Ohio, the number of opioid-related deaths surged from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015. That is a jump of 775 percent over 13 years.

According to an NPR report, the State of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit alleges that the five companies — Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (and subsidiary Cephalon), Johnson & Johnson (and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals), and Allergan — engaged in deceptive advertising.

Specifically, the lawsuit accuses the drug companies of “engaging in a sustained marketing campaign to downplay the addiction risks of the prescription opioid drugs they sell and to exaggerate the benefits of their use for health problems such as chronic pain.”

The Ohio lawsuit is the second of its kind. The State of Mississippi filed a similar lawsuit in early 2017.

Ohio AG Says Drug Makers Purposely Misled Doctors

Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine stated: “We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced, and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales.” DeWine added, “And boy, did they increase sales.”

The lawsuit turns on the claim that drug manufacturers deliberately targeted physicians and “embarked on a persuasion scheme” to convince doctors that opioids were the best medication to treat all kinds of chronic pain. The suit also states that pharmaceutical companies knew their product were highly addictive yet chose to understate the addictive nature to doctors. In reality, the lawsuit states, opioids are typically not safe for long-term use. 

State officials believe that about 200,000 Ohio residents are addicted to opioids. DeWine’s office also stated that the southern portion of the state has been hit hardest by the opioid crisis. In some counties, the bodies of overdose victims must be kept in portable cold storage lockers because the morgues are full.

Contact Summit Behavioral Health Today

The opioid epidemic has touched lives across the country. If you are struggling with a prescription drug addiction, or someone you love is dependent on opioids, your situation is not hopeless. Compassionate and effective support is available today. It’s never too late to begin a treatment program designed to help you achieve a long-term recovery. Whether this is your first attempt to seek treatment or you have relapsed once or several times in the past, Summit Behavioral Health can assist you.

About Summit Behavioral Health

Summit Behavioral Health offers both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people overcome opioid drug addiction, alcohol abuse disorder, and co-occurring disorders. We have helped people just like you conquer their opioid drug addiction for good. Our programs are medically supervised and designed to fit your specific needs and goals. Call our behavioral health professionals today at 1-844-643-3869 to speak to a substance abuse expert about your treatment options.

Sources:

  1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/31/530929307/ohio-sues-5-major-drug-companies-for-fueling-opioid-epidemic
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/03/16/drugs-are-killing-so-many-in-this-county-that-cold-storage-trailers-are-being-used-as-morgues/?utm_term=.6147d5871733

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source: https://www.summitbehavioralhealth.com/blog/can-drug-companies-held-accountable-opioid-crisis/