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

May 31, 2017

In his official statement, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine accuses the companies of fraudulent marketing concerning the risks and benefits of opioids.
Credit KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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
  • Allergan Plc.