Wisconsin lawsuit blames drug makers for opioid crisis


Almost 24 Wisconsin counties are suing manufacturers of painkillers, claiming in a lawsuit on Tuesday that the firms’ nefarious and misleading promotional campaigns triggered the country’s opioid overdose crisis.

The claim seeks unidentified redress and says the district health and law enforcement services have been stressed to the limit because of the opioid epidemic that has led to the death of many. More than 24 states, cities, and districts have taken legal actions against drugs companies, with the accusation of concealing the dangers of their drugs just to make more profits.

Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Oconto, Shawano, and Waupaca are the Northeast Wisconsin counties joining the lawsuit.

The companies’ objective was straightforward: to generate more profit by convincing doctors and medical specialists that their products were safe and effective for treating severe short-term pain associated with surgery or cancer and other minor long-term pains, for example, back pain and arthritis.” says the lawsuit filed in the Eastern Counties of Wisconsin.

The defendants were aware that their “drugs were addictive, unsafe or ineffective for long-term use.” the claim says. It listed Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Situations, Johnson & Johnson, and subsidiaries of the companies. The names of three medical doctors in California and Utah are also on the list.

Drug makers deny allegations

“We absolutely deny these charges and look forward to presenting our defense.” Purdue Pharma argued in a statement that also said the company is lugubrious because of the opioid epidemic and we’re committed to finding a solution to the crisis.”

Endo Health Solutions announced that its “aims include patient well-being and ensuring that patients with severe pain have access to safe and efficacious remedial options” while preventing any form of abuse. The company said it wasn’t ready to give further comments. Johnson & Johnson said it is yet to receive a complaint from the counties, but the accusations in similar claims are “lawfully and genuinely unwarranted.”

In 2015, over 52,000 Americans died from overdoses, most of them involving cases of opioid or related hard drugs like heroin and fentanyl, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the lawsuit, opioid overdoses have claimed 1,824 lives in Wisconsin from 2013 to 2015. Washington County recorded 542 hospitalized cases and 70 deaths from 2013 to 2016.