This story, originally published by WZTV, appeared Jan. 11, 2018. Copyright 2018 WZTV.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Five more Tennessee district attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for knowingly participating in the illegal opioid market.
Attorneys general from the state’s 13th, 16th, 17th, 22nd, and 31st Judicial Districts brings the total to 14 attorneys general that represent 47 counties now suing the companies.
District attorney general Bryant C. Dunaway, who represents Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White counties is among those taking part in the new suit.
The suit states in 2016 in the affected counties, there were over 1 million prescriptions for pain killers. From 2012 to 2016, there were 550 opioid overdose deaths in the counties.
Dunaway says the millions of pills that have been overprescribed have caused harm to the 19 counties named in the suit.
“Tennessee doctors wrote more than 7.8 million opioid prescriptions in 2015. That’s more prescriptions than Tennessee has residents — men, women and children combined.
“We have experienced a massive influx of opioids into the 19 counties named in this suit. Millions of pills have been overprescribed and diverted into vulnerable populations, resulting in a robust illegal trade, skyrocketing overdose rates, and a growing financial burden on our police, schools, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and taxpayers. The defendants named chose to participate in this process for personal gain, and we intend to hold them accountable.”
Among the claims against companies, the suit alleges drug makers “embarked on a fraudulent campaign to convince physicians that opioids carried a low risk of addiction and were therefore appropriate for non-acute problems such as chronic pain.”
The suit adds companies also misrepresented the addictive nature of opioids in their marketing, contributing to the illegal market and illegal drug trade.
The drug producers also are accused of giving rise to the street heroin market due to addicts turning to the drug because they can no longer obtain prescription opioids.
This is the third suit filed in Tennessee since June 2017 against Purdue Pharma L.P., Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The suit also includes Mark Murphy, a director of two pain clinics, David Florence, a primary physician at regional pain clinics, and Nathan Paul Haskins, a convicted drug dealer.
See the full suit below or CLICK HERE: