/By Join Together Staff
June 4th, 2014/
A lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago against five drug companies alleges they contributed to the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic through deceptive marketing of their opioid painkillers, Reuters reports.
“For years, big pharma has deceived the public about the true risks and benefits of highly potent and highly addictive painkillers in order to expand their customer base and increase their bottom line,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions and Actavis. The suit alleges the companies aggressively marketed opioid painkillers as rarely addictive, while misrepresenting the drugs’ benefits for treating common pains and concealing the risk of addiction, overdose and death.
Emanuel said the result has been a dramatic increase in opioid addiction and overdose in Chicago and other cities across the country. The city said it is not seeking to ban opioid painkillers, but wants to end the companies’ allegedly deceptive marketing practices so doctors and patients can make informed decisions.
According to the lawsuit, the companies violated Chicago city laws against consumer fraud, misleading advertising and submitting false claims to the city employee health insurance plan, the article notes. The city wants to recover the companies’ profits from the alleged illegal marketing, and is also seeking civil penalties and punitive damages.
Last month, two California counties sued the same five companies, accusing them of causing the country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.