South Dakota sues drugmakers over opioid marketing practices

South Dakota filed a lawsuit against three prescription drug manufacturers, alleging the companies spread false information about the safety of opioids, according to a March 14 news release.

The lawsuit specifically accuses Purdue Pharma, Endo International and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of violating the South Dakota's deceptive trade laws and Medicaid fraud statutes regarding the promotion of opioids. The suit alleges these actions defendants "created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids" via medical journal advertising, sales representative statements and other marketing.

"Pharmaceutical companies that knowingly and deceptively harm consumers must be held accountable," said Marty Jackley, South Dakota's attorney general. "Misleading and deceptive marketing about the risks and benefits of opioids has fueled an explosion of addiction. We cannot ignore the devastating consequences of their actions as they are directly affecting South Dakota families and communities."

Purdue and Janssen said in separate statements to Reuters they rejected the state's accusations and were committed to fighting opioid abuse. Endo declined to comment to the publication.

South Dakota is joins at least 15 other states that have sued opioid manufacturers, according to Reuters. More than 39 million opioid doses were prescribed to South Dakotans in 2017.


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