The Ohio attorney general sued five drugmakers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of perpetrating the state's addictions epidemic by intentionally misleading patients about the dangers of painkillers and promoting benefits of the drugs not backed by science. Attorney General Mike DeWine said the companies created a deadly mess in Ohio that they now need to pay to clean up. "This lawsuit is about justice, it's about fairness, it's about what is right," DeWine said in announcing the complaint filed in Ross County, a southern Ohio community slammed by fatal drug overdoses from painkillers and heroin. A record 3,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses in 2015, a figure expected to jump sharply once 2016 figures are tallied, reports the AP.
DeWine wants an injunction stopping the companies from their alleged misconduct and damages for money the state spent on opiates sold and marketed in Ohio. The attorney general also wants customers repaid for unnecessary opiate prescriptions for chronic pain. "These drug companies knew that what they were doing was wrong and they did it anyway," DeWine said. The drugmakers sued by DeWine are Purdue Pharma; Endo Health Solutions; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and its subsidiary, Cephalon; Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and Allergan. They variously manufacture OxyContin, Percocet, and a host of other painkillers that DeWine said represent the heart of the problem. Other states have filed similar lawsuits; in 2015, Kentucky settled a suit with Purdue Pharma for $24 million. (Read more opioids stories.)