The Illinois Attorney General is filing more lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that he alleges aided in causing the opioid crisis. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen companies for their roles in the opioid epidemic. The lawsuit filed in Cook County names four pharmaceutical companies including Endo, Teva and Allergan, along with several distributors.
According to Raoul’s lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the opioid manufacturers carried out unfair and deceptive marketing campaigns that prioritized profits over public health and resulted in unprecedented levels of opioid prescribing, while the distributors irresponsibly flooded Illinois with opioids, failing in their role as gatekeepers in preventing the diversion of opioids.
Raoul alleged the defendant opioid manufacturers – Johnson & Johnson, Endo, Teva, and Allergan – spent millions of dollars on an unfair and deceptive campaign to shift public perception of opioids, resulting in an increase in opioid prescriptions. According to Raoul, they pushed for the use of more opioids at higher doses and for longer periods of time under the guise of what they characterized as the widespread and problematic under-treatment of pain. The manufacturers also allegedly sought to convince health care providers and patients that opioids were a safe and effective treatment by minimizing risks like addiction and making unsubstantiated claims about the drugs’ benefits.
Separately, Illinois was among several states that sued OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma earlier this year. Purdue and the Sackler Family are looking to file bankruptcy if they can’t settle lawsuits like the one in Illinois due to the amount of damages that are being sought. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 18,000 people in Illinois died from opioid overdoses from 1997 to 2017.