Orange and Santa Clara counties in California filed suit last week against five drug makers, saying that they deliberately promoted inappropriate use of prescription painkillers and were responsible for a spike in addictions.
Filed in California Superior Court, the lawsuit names Purdue Pharma, Cephalon Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Actavis and Endo Health Solutions Inc. as defendants. It seeks unspecified damages and a prohibition on misleading claims about the companies' products.
The suit states that the drug companies engaged in a "common, sophisticated and deeply deceptive marketing campaign to ... reverse the popular and medical understanding of opioids." The counties state that these opioids have been promoted for the treatment of simple everyday conditions when they were intended as short-term treatments for pain resulting from severe injuries or surgery.