On June 30, 2017, Oklahoma’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit in state court against four of the nation’s leading manufacturers of opioid pain medication (Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Cephalon, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals), claiming that the effects of the defendants’ deceptive marketing campaigns over the last decade have fueled Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic. The opioid lawsuit alleges that the four manufacturers worked with third parties, including those with influence in the medical community, to promote, market, and sell opioids in Oklahoma, and that the opioid manufacturers deceived and manipulated Oklahomans into believing opioids were safe for use over an extended period.
The Oklahoma Attorney General seeks to hold the four named opioid manufacturers responsible for the catastrophic damages Oklahoma has suffered from the current public health crisis, citing the thousands who have died and the millions of dollars spent by Oklahoma and its citizens for unnecessary and excessive opioid prescriptions.
In announcing the filing of the Oklahoma opioid lawsuit, the Oklahoma Attorney General stated, “These companies have waged a fraudulent, decade–long marketing campaign to profit from the anguish of thousands of Oklahomans. These companies have made in excess of $10 billion a year, while our friends, family members, neighbors and loved ones have become addicts, gone to prison or died because of the opioid epidemic. Today, we begin a fight to hold these companies accountable, slow the crisis and build a healthier state. One death or one addiction related to opioids is too many.”
The Oklahoma opioid lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated Oklahoma’s Medicaid False Claims Act, the Consumer Protection Act, and created a public nuisance by knowingly presenting false claims through marketing aimed at downplaying the risks of dependency on opioids and overstating the effectiveness of the drugs.
The Oklahoma opioid lawsuit alleges that the opioid manufacturers’ representatives engaged in deceptive trade practices by disseminating false statements and material to doctors and pharmacists and by omitting the results of academic reports related to the medical necessity of opioids. The lawsuit further alleges that the companies used what were described as independent doctors or organizations to tout the legitimacy of the drugs for chronic pain management when, in reality, these third parties were paid to act as consultants to market the drugs and provide scientific support for the effectiveness of opioids while downplaying the risks of addiction and abuse.
The relief the Oklahoma opioid lawsuit seeks is a declaration that the defendants’ actions and practices violated state law; an injunction against the defendants to stop misrepresentations and false claims in Oklahoma; and, seeks damages and penalties caused by the defendants, including punitive damages, legal fees, Medicaid reimbursement, and consumer reimbursement.
The Oklahoma Attorney General referenced the following statistics regarding the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma: 178 opioid-related deaths in Oklahoma in 1999 (5.36 deaths per 100,000 people in Oklahoma); 7.36 deaths per 100,000 people in Oklahoma in 2000; 11.78 deaths per 100,000 people in Oklahoma in 2003; and, 20.63 deaths per 100,000 people in Oklahoma in 2009.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) as a result of opioids or other prescription drugs in Oklahoma or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a drug claim lawyer (opioid claim lawyer) in your state who may investigate your drug claim for you and represent you in a drug case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you with your drug claim.
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