Ohio Wants To Hold Drug Companies Responsible For The Opioid Epidemic

Ohio's attorney general sued five major drug companies, claiming they misled consumers and worsened the opioid crisis.

Ohio Wants To Hold Drug Companies Responsible For The Opioid Epidemic
Getty Images

Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, and now it wants to hold drug companies responsible.

Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit against five major drug companies he says are responsible for the drug addiction crisis because they misled consumers.

The suit names Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon, Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Allergan.

Pills in a bottle

We Might Be Underestimating Opioid-Related Deaths In The US

Researchers found that in Minnesota between 2006 and 2015, over 50 unexplained deaths showed evidence of opioid use.


DeWine said the drugmakers "led prescribers to believe opioids were not addictive, that addiction was an easy thing to overcome, or that addiction could actually be treated by taking even more opioids. They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway — and they continue to do it."

Prescription painkiller use can lead to addiction, and some people turn to drugs like heroin when their prescriptions run out. But the companies listed in the suit say they're not responsible for the problem.

A Janssen Pharmaceutical spokesperson said when it comes to its opioid medications, the company "acted appropriately, responsibly and in the best interests of patients."

Ohio's opioid epidemic is one of the worst in the nation. More than 4,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in the state last year, and officials say opioids are largely to blame.

Correction: A previous version of this story said over 4,000 people died from opiate overdoses in Ohio in 2016. That number actually includes all unintentional drug overdoses.