In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the State Attorney General alleged these five companies "helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio."
The lawsuit accuses the companies of engaging in a sustained marketing campaign to downplay the addiction risks of the prescription opioid drugs they sell. It also alleges that the companies exaggerate the benefits of their use for health problems such as chronic pain.
In a public statement, one of the defendants argues it "has acted appropriately, responsibly and in the best interests of patients regarding our opioid pain medications, which are FDA-approved and carry FDA-mandated warnings about the known risks of the medications on every product label."
Another company stated as follows: "OxyContin accounts for less than two percent of the opioid analgesic prescription market nationally, but we are an industry leader in the development of abuse-deterrent technology, advocating for the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and supporting access to Naloxone — all important components for combating the opioid crisis."
As of April 2017, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs exist in every state. These programs allow pharmacists and medical personnel to access patients’ prescription histories to identify any suspicious usage. However, a survey of US physicians published recently found only slightly over half of doctors used these programs. Since pain medication is often a necessary part of the healing process after an injury, we will be paying close attention to this lawsuit.