Considering that deaths by opioids exceeded the deaths caused by any other disorder and the fact that prescription medications have fueled the addiction epidemic in the United States, state attorneys belonging to the two opposing parties have jointly announced a probe into the marketing and sales practices of drug companies producing opioids.
The announcement made on June 15, 2017, included joint statements by attorney generals from states including Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. It came two weeks after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine instituted legal proceedings against five drug-manufacturing companies for misreporting the risks posed by opioid use. Elucidating the same, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said, “We are looking into what role, if any, marketing and related practices might have played in the increasing prescription and use of these powerful and addictive drugs.”
The officials did not give the names of drug manufacturers under observation nor did they mention the number of states involved in the probe. Two separate lawsuits by attorney generals in Ohio and Mississippi are currently evaluating production and marketing strategies adopted by Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International Plc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Allergan Plc. Though companies have chosen not to divulge any information about the recent spurt in investigations against their production activities, Teva spokesperson talking about the company said, “It is committed to the appropriate promotion and use of opioids.”
When asked, the companies under observation expressed approval regarding safety and effectiveness of their drugs, and emphasized that the quality of their products had been officially agreed to or were termed satisfactory by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The spokespersons of the companies also reiterated that their drugs carried warning labels disclosing potential risks in case of misuse. The companies’ were responding to statements issued by Ohio Attorney General DeWine about marketing gimmicks followed by drug companies being responsible for the opioid crisis. DeWine stressed how manufacturers of prescription medicines had brought about the epidemic by spending millions of dollars on marketing and promotion of certain drugs like Purdue’s OxyContin.
In his lawsuit, DeWine mentioned that drug companies were spreading deceptive statements, which misguided people about the potential risks and advantages of prescription medicines. Such statements were a part of their marketing strategy aimed at influencing clinicians, medical professionals and patients that their medications must be recommended for prolonged and critical pain as opposed to only short-term pain. Local governments, including of two California counties, the cities of Chicago, Illinois and Dayton, Ohio, three Tennessee district attorneys, and nine New York counties, have forwarded similar lawsuits.
Dependence on opioids forms a major percentage of drug addiction episodes wrecking the lives of people in the U.S. Despite federal agencies constantly informing and reminding people about the consequences of opioid overdose, over 30,000 people succumbed to opioid overdose in 2015. In some counties, the overdose deaths now also involve drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Traffickers are now using fentanyl to mix cocaine without realizing that the combination can be deadly.
The Sovereign Health of El Paso is involved in drug addiction treatment. We carefully assess each patient who seeks treatment at our residential addiction treatment centers. The assessment takes into account all physical and mental conditions. Any treatment regimen that ignores the psychological factors fueling addiction does a considerable disservice to the patient. A patient who comes to us can be sure of receiving the best evidence-based treatment. Contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information. One must not delay the treatment or things can get out of hand.
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