LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Arkansas authorities filed a lawsuit against three drug companies on Thursday alleging overzealous and fraudulent marketing efforts contributed to an increase in opioid abuse
The trial is called Purdue Pharma , Johnson & Johnson and Endo Pharmaceuticals. The state claims they have violated fraudulent commercial practices and filing false Medicaid claims.
"Historically … opioids have been used only for the treatment of acute short-term pain or for the treatment of cancer or palliative care." The lawsuit says.
The companies downplayed addiction and encouraged physicians to prescribe the opioids for chronic pain over two decades, according to the lawsuit.
Justice Minister Leslie Rutledge said that pharmacies will have nearly 236 million doses of opioids in the state in 201
"It's a public health crisis," she told a State Capitol press conference that covered a wooden map of Arkansas with 401 empty pill  Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday that it had marketed its medicines responsibly and exposed the risks and benefits. He called the allegations "groundless and unfounded."
"Our medications have some of the lowest rates of abuse among this class of medications," said spokeswoman Jessica Castles Smith.
Endo declined to comment. Purdue did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking a comment, but a statement on his website said she pledges to fight opioid abuse, including limiting how many pills can be given on a first prescription.
will end the crisis but several, overlapping efforts will be made, "said Purdue's statement.
Opioids include such drugs as Purdue OxyContin and Dilaudid, Duragesic from Johnson & Johnson's Janssen subsidiary, and Endo Percodan and Percocet. While all of these drugs are legitimate Arkansas claims that the companies were promoting inappropriate uses that ultimately cost their taxpayers money.
The state is seeking $ 10,000 for every violation of the Commercial Code and $ 11,000 for every Medicaid injury violation
"As a direct consequence and direct cause of the defendant's fraudulent behavior, Arkansas was injured," it states in the lawsuit.
Several states and Native American tribes have raised similar claims as a number of Arkansas cities and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention s In 2016, 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses nationwide.
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