Kentucky sues opioid manufacturers

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The state of Kentucky on Wednesday sued [complaint, PDF] several opioid manufacturers alleging that they “trivialized, mischaracterized, and failed to disclose” the “serious risk of addiction” inherent in the use of the high strength pain killers. The state claims that including Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals [corporate websites] “undermined evidence that opioids are addictive by suggesting or stating that the risk of addiction is limited to high-risk patients.” The complaint also contains snippets of materials that were used as guides for patients, where manufacturers stated that the opioids were “rarely addictive when used properly.”

The complaint also alleges that manufacturers “overstated the benefits of chronic opioid therapy while failing to disclose the lack of evidence supporting long-term use.” Kentucky is seeking civil penalties as well as damages for the public nuisance and punitive damages.

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