State attorneys general probe opioid drug companies

Two days after a lawsuit was filed in Sullivan County against the manufacturers of OxyContin, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has announced he is leading a coalition of Attorneys General from across the country in comprehensive investigations into the roots of the opioid epidemic.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois was one of 14 states with statistically significant increases in overall drug overdose deaths in recent years. "I am working with my colleagues in actively investigating whether manufacturers used illegal practices in the marketing and sale of opioids and worsened this deadly crisis".

The State of South Dakota is proactively working to keep the opioid epidemic at bay.

Nationwide and in IL, opioids - prescription and illicit - are the main driver of overdose deaths. The states are investigating what role, if any, opioid manufacturers have played in making the epidemic worse. Opioids were responsible for 1,451 deaths in Tennessee in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, there were 559 overdose deaths directly attributed to prescription opioids in IL, and 1,339 overdose deaths in which opioids were involved. That's up almost 10 percent from 2014.

Teva in a statement said on Thursday it is "committed to the appropriate promotion and use of opioids". State Attorney General George Jepsen says the goal of the probe is to determine if the companies engaged in unlawful activity related to the opioid addiction crisis.

Ohio's attorney general has sued five drug makers, accusing them of intentionally misleading patients about the dangers of painkillers and promoting benefits that science claims don't exist.

In his own press release, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf praised Shapiro for ensuring that Pennsylvania is doing its part to lead the fight against the opioid epidemic. "This effort reflects the commitment of a bipartisan group of Attorneys General to bring their combined resources to bear to take a hard look at every facet of this crisis".

  • Carolyn Briggs