California Sues: Big Pharma Created Addicts With Lies
Lawsuit alleges slick marketing got people hooked on opioid painkillers
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2014 3:25 AM CDT
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.    (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

(Newser) – The makers of strong painkillers like OxyContin have created a "population of addicts" with a "campaign of deception" about the risks the drugs carry, two California counties charge in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the whole state. Orange and Santa Clara counties are suing five large makers of opium-like painkillers, accusing them of using false advertising and misleading practices, reports the Los Angeles Times. The counties say the drug makers caused an epidemic of addiction and overdoses by marketing drugs meant for short-term pain relief to people suffering chronic pain, and used methods similar to those of tobacco companies to "conceal their deceptive marketing and conspiratorial behavior."

The lawsuit seeks compensation for damage caused by the drugs and a court order forcing to companies to give up revenue based on allegedly misleading ad campaigns. The main goal is "to stop the lies about what these drugs do," says the district attorney in Orange County, where there is a painkiller-releated death every other day, according to the lawsuit. "It’s always been my opinion that Big Pharma is the head of the snake," a father whose son died from an overdose tells the OC Register. "They flood the market with a very powerful opiate that shouldn't be prescribed but for a very small portion of patients. The whole organization is designed for profit, not for healing."

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Aug 4, 2014 1:41 AM CDT
We are supposed to just "trust" conventional medicine. The best definition I recently heard defining "alternative medicine" is - anything other than pharmaceuticals
May 23, 2014 3:44 PM CDT
Im glad to hear that some in government are standing up to the greed of companies selling opioids. The research is clear- with the exception of tramadol for neuropathic pain, opioids lack evidence of effectiveness for pain. Moreover opioids can and do lead to depression, spread breast cancer, lower immunity, lead to obstructive sleep apnea, qt syndrome and are neurotoxic- to name a few side effects. 9 million Americans misuse opioids-and in the last 4 years 50% of opioids have been returned unused-not to mention how many are flushed. Opioids are suboptimal treatment that merely deal with the symptom of pain and not the underlying pathology. One would think modern science would discontinue using such ancient and suboptimal treatment for pain- but like so many of us know- opioids aren't about helping people- theyre about corporations making money and lazy doctors not having to learn to use other treatments for pain.
May 22, 2014 8:34 PM CDT
How funny would it be if " The Drugster " Rush Limbaugh, sued Big Pharma?