Two California counties file lawsuits over marketing of painkillers

Two California counties file lawsuits over marketing of painkillers

California's Orange and Santa Clara counties and the City of Chicago have accused the drug industry of fueling an outbreak of addiction by pursuing "aggressive marketing" for prescription opioids.

In two separate lawsuits, the plaintiff city and the two counties also alleged that five pharmaceuticals companies have also cost taxpayers millions of dollars health care costs as well as in insurance claims.

The five companies named as defendants are: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., and Cephalon.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that produces and sells opioids like Duragesic; while Purdue Pharma, Actavis, and Endo Health Solutions Inc. make and sell OxyContin, Kadian and Percocet opioids, respectively. Cephalon, an arm of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, makes opioids like Actiq and Fentora.

Both lawsuits open by stating, "A pharmaceutical manufacturer should never place its desire for profits above the health and well-being of its customers."

Chicago's corporation counsel Stephen Patton said that the city would not have brought the suit unless it felt that it had a rock-solid legal as well as factual basis for doing the same.

The lawsuits also stresses that many patients turn to heroin when they fail to find or afford prescription painkillers. The severity of problem of drug abuse can be gauged from the compiled figures that show use of prescription opioids paved way for 16,651 deaths in the U. S. in 2010 alone.

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