City of Chicago Sues J&J For Deceptive Painkiller Marketing

Chicago is suing Johnson & Johnson and four other drug companies for allegedly creating drug addicts and driving up healthcare costs by using deceptive marketing practices to push consumers to use opioid painkillers, according to a Bloomberg report.

Along with Johnson & Johnson, the city sued Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Actavis. The city alleges the companies overstated the benefits of the opioid painkillers they produce and did not inform consumers of the risks associated with the drugs.  

In its complaint, the city alleges the companies committed fraud and civil conspiracy by engaging in a campaign to alter public perception of the opioid painkillers resulting in their "increased use, increased instances of addiction and users migrating to heroin because it is less expensive and sometimes easier to obtain," according to the report.

In its complaint, the city states it has paid to fill approximately 400,000 prescriptions for opioids since 2007, which cost nearly $9.5 million.

"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," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in the report. "It's time for these companies to end these irresponsible practices and be held accountable."

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