Ohio sues five drug companies over opioid crisis


CHICAGO Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Wednesday his office sued five drug manufacturers, accusing them of misrepresenting the risks of prescription opioid painkillers, helping fuel a drug addiction epidemic.

A growing number of state and local governments are suing drugmakers and distributors, seeking to hold them accountable for the opioid crisis.

The five companies Ohio sued were Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc unit, a unit of Endo International Plc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s Cephalon unit and Allergan Plc, DeWine said during a press conference in Columbus livestreamed online.

Purdue had no immediate comment. The other four companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit, filed in Southern Ohio where addiction has hit hard, seeks damages for the money the state has spent on the fallout, DeWine said.

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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)


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