Two California counties have filed a law suit against a number of pharmaceutical companies for allegedly promoting pain killer addiction.
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California’s Orange and Santa Clara Couties have brought forward a law suit alleging that big pharma companies are responsible for causing the increase in addictions to pain killers over the last twenty years. Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals was one of the companies named in the suit. It was filed in California Superior Court on May 21st.
Both of the counties, along with the rest of the United States, have suffered through an epidemic of prescription narcotics abuses, including over dose deaths, over dose related emergency medical care expenses and addictions. The district attorney of Orange County, Tony Rackauckas, says in the suit that there is a painkiller related death there every other day and that this law suit is a matter of protecting the public. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times he said, “in order to put money in their pockets they’ve done serious harm to many thousands of people.”
Some of the drugs in question are so powerful that they have become know as synthetic heroine.
According to the suit, the pharmaceutical industry deliberately promoted the use of prescription pain killers for every day use in the treatment of simple back pain, arthritis and other conditions. This after they had only been used as short term treatments for temporary pain resulting from severe injuries or operations. The suit alleges a “common, sophisticated, and deeply deceptive marketing campaign that continues to the present, set out to, and did, reverse the popular and medical understanding of opioids”.
The plaintiffs claim in a 105 page complaint that the listed companies violated state laws and are guilty of false advertising. The suit seeks an unspecified amount for damages and compensation and for the companies to be barred from making any more misleading claims about their products.
Teva produces the pain killer Actiq and declined to comment on the law suit.
The manufacturers are expected to challenge the standing of the two counties’ governments to bring such a law suit against them. They will maintain that their actions are all in accordance with what America’s Food and Drug Administration requires. The FDA, they would argue, has the final say in how drugs can be marketed and if it did not prohibit how they promoted their pharmaceuticals then they did nothing wrong.
Based in Petah Tikva Israel, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd is an international company which specializes in generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. It is the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world and one of the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Teva has factories in four continents and is traded on both the NYSE and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Teva means nature in Hebrew.