Missouri Attorney General sues opioid manufacturers for fraud - KCTV5

Missouri Attorney General sues opioid manufacturers for fraud

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The lawsuit alleges that the companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell. (KCTV5) The lawsuit alleges that the companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell. (KCTV5)
ST. LOUIS, MO (KCTV) -

The state of Missouri is planning to take three opioid manufacturers to court.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit Wednesday against three large drug manufacturing companies in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City.

Hawley is suing Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The lawsuit alleges that these companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell.

“Our state faces an urgent public-health crisis brought on by fraud. These companies have profited from the suffering of Missourians,” Hawley said. “Today, we begin to fight to put an end to this crisis as we fight for the thousands of lives endangered and lost to the opioid epidemic.”

Hawley said the drug companies named in Wednesday’s suit carried out a complex, multi-year campaign in which they deliberately misrepresented the addictive risks of opioids. This resulted in thousands of patients being given unnecessary opioids prescriptions, often to treat chronic pain.

“I was given an opioid prescription that I never should have been given,” Eddie Bunnell, a former opioid addict, said. “Now I’m speaking out about my addiction to show other addicts that they’re not alone. I care; Josh Hawley cares, and Missouri cares.”

The civil action filed by Hawley and his office seeks to hold the drug manufacturing companies accountable for their actions and to begin the healing process for the families and communities that have suffered from the opioid epidemic.

“I lost my daughter to the opioid epidemic three years ago,” Jammie Fabick said. “For the sake of my daughter and all the other lives lost, we have to put a stop to this epidemic.”

“Today’s suit is about seeking justice for the victims of this epidemic and their families,” Hawley said. “But it is also about the beginning of building a healthier Missouri and giving those ravaged by this scourge the opportunity to heal.” 

Hawley says medical records reveal that more than 30,000 people in Missouri were hospitalized or visited the emergency-room because of opioids. He says that number represents nearly a 200% increase over the last decade.

In 2015, 500 Missourians died from opioid overdoses or complications. 300 more died from heroin, another drug commonly associated with opioid abuse.

Hawley says the opioid death rate in Missouri is 160% of the national average.

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