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Ohio Sues Five Big Pharma Companies, Accusing Them of Dumping Opioids on Ohio

photo of Mike DeWine

Ohio is suing five of the nation’s largest drug companies, blaming them for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says five major drug companies have put profits over the safety of Ohioans.

“This lawsuit is about justice. It’s about fairness. It’s about what is right. It is just and it is right that the people who played a significant role in creating this mess in the state of Ohio should pay to clean it up.”

Ohio has led the nation in drug overdose deaths in recent years. More than 3,000 Ohioans died of drug overdoses in 2015 and early numbers indicate the death toll reached over 4,000 in 2016.

The suit, filed in Ross County in southern Ohio -- which has been devastated by the crisis -- says the drug makers misrepresented the risks of their painkillers. One of them, Janssen, maintains the claims are "both legally and factually unfounded." Purdue Pharma said in a statement: "We share the attorney general's concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions."

The companies sued are:

  • Purdue Pharma LP
  • Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals
  • Endo International Plc,
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Cephalon unit
  • AllerganPlc.
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.