Suffolk County Sues Drug Manufacturers for Public Health Costs Of Opioid Epidemic Caused By Deceptive Marketing
Last week Suffolk County filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and Jansen Pharmaceuticals, amongst 11 named defendants. The suit claims that the drug companies created a "false perception through a coordinated, sophisticated and highly deceptive marketing campaign" beginning in the late 1990's claiming that opioids, such as Oxycontin and Percocet could be prescribed without risk of addiction. This suit was modeled on the tobacco litigation that resulted in States and the federal government recovering a settlement of $248 billion for the public health costs of cigarette smoking.
Rob Calarco, a Suffolk County legislator, according to the New York Times, stated: "The pharmaceutical companies knew that these products were not effective for the treatment of chronic pain and they knew their products were highly addictive. Yet they went on a campaign to convince doctors that if they didn't prescribe these drugs, they were depriving their patients of the care they deserve." Suffolk County is demanding that the drug companies be required to bear the costs of Medicaid expenditures for addiction treatment and the costs of law enforcement for dealing with addicted criminals.