|For Immediate Release
May 22, 2014
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES FOR DECEIVING PATIENTS AND DOCTORS ABOUT DANGERS OF PAINKILLERS, INCLUDING OXYCONTIN AND PERCOCET
*Complaint charges that misleading marketing has grown opioids into multi-billion dollar industry at expense of patient health
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and Office of the County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara (OCCCSC) have filed a civil consumer protection lawsuit against five large pharmaceutical companies for endangering patients and deceiving doctors by intentionally misrepresenting the dangerously addictive nature of opioids, or a class of narcotic prescription painkillers, to expand their market and profit for the drugs.
The Complaint was filed yesterday, May 21, 2014, against Purdue Pharma L.P., Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc., and Actavis, Inc.
“As District Attorney, I have the task of protecting the People of Orange County against false advertising and unfair business practices in consumer protection cases,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “We have charged these pharmaceutical companies for knowingly harming public health by waging a massive campaign to sell huge quantities of these dangerous drugs for profit. It is imperative for prescription drugs to be taken to promote health, not endanger lives, and that those responsible for producing these drugs not engage in deception.”
What are Opioids?
Prescription opioids, a class of painkillers, include brand-name drugs such as OxyContin and Percocet. Opioids are narcotics derived from opium and have similar effects on users as heroin. They are approved for the treatment of chronic cancer pain, especially for terminal patients. Opioids are not approved for general pain management and are dangerously addictive with prolonged use requiring greater quantities for the same therapeutic effect. They are both physically and psychologically addictive.
Opioids are controlled substances classified under the federal Controlled Substance Act as having “high potential for abuse” and a “risk of severe psychological and physical dependence.” Numerous studies support that at least 15 percent and as many as 40 percent of patients will become addicted to opioids.
Defendants’ Deceptive Practices