Ohio Sues Five Drug Firms, Saying They Fueled Opioid Crisis
02 June 2017, 01:53 | Andres Norman
Ohio Sues Five Drug Firms, Saying They Fueled Opioid Crisis
OH is one of the top five states in terms of deadly overdoses over the previous year, a trend that has continued for a decade.
"Now we know that an average of 11 Ohioans died every single day from drug overdoses past year", Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said. In 2012, there were at least 1,900 unintentional drug overdose deaths.
County coroners supplied the numbers and said they expect that 2017 will outpace 2016.
Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in the United States in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway".
The pharma companies allegedly downplayed the risk of addiction posed by these drugs, and instead talked up the concept of "pseudoaddiction" - the notion that apparent symptoms of addiction may actually be signs of under-treatment.
The state of OH figures it's home to 200,000 opioid addicts. Opioids are often blamed for heroin addiction because both have the same active component, and heroin can be cheaper and more readily available than prescription painkilllers.
Overstated the benefits of chronic opioid pain therapy. He said these companies also committed Medicaid fraud. However, the pills could be crushed for an instant high. Other smaller wholesalers settled for a combined $11 million. What part of this equation are the companies responsible for?
In the CNN interview, DeWine did not rule out suing distributors as well.
Pepper, now the state's Democratic Party chairman, blasted the lawsuit as too little, too late.
DeWine says he doesn't expect the OH suit to bring a quick fix and has created a heroin unit to go after the Mexican cartels that are bringing the drug into Ohio. Two of his potential Democrat challengers have pushed to hold drug companies accountable. In a written statement, Renacci said it's important to get opioid abusers into treatment. "We have received a substantial number of documents and continue to work with the companies involved in order to ensure the committee receives all the information it requested", says Drew Pusateri, spokesman for Senator McCaskill. "Quite candidly, I think it's my moral obligation to do this", DeWine said.
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"What we see is that the programs that work", he said.
The price tag could be huge. His suit touched off a flurry of litigation by states against the industry that ultimately concluded with a $206 billion settlement.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to stop the companies from "continued deception", DeWine's office said. That, of course, is the real agenda of state government in this and other similar cases.
Like the cigarette makers, the drug makers relied on "sales representatives" and influential doctors and "seemingly neutral and credible professional societies and patient advocacy groups" to tout the supposed benefits of long-term opioid use "even though there is no "good evidence" to support" those claims, the suit states.
At an opioid addiction forum in Cleveland last month, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said while the crisis has been in the public eye for just a few years, addiction has quadrupled since 1999, according to local Fox affiliate WJW.
Rather than spend tens of millions of dollars on legal fees, the companies will probably settle. "Defendants broke these simple rules and helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social and deadly consequences in the state of OH". The states claimed the companies knew their products caused illnesses but went to great lengths to hide scientific evidence.
Tobacco companies have paid more than $112 billion since then, with OH receiving more than $5.4 billion.
In Ross County on Wednesday, Christina Arredondo stood next to Mr. DeWine as he announced the lawsuit.
OH has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, and now it wants to hold drug companies responsible.
"Small towns were rocked as men, women and children succumbed to addiction", DeWine said. "From there the fires spread out across OH, touching every community and every county, no matter how rich or poor".
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