Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he will file a lawsuit against three large drug manufacturing companies.
The fraud lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City, accuses the companies of misrepresenting the risks posed by opioid products.
“For years, the citizens of our state have been the victims of a deliberate campaign of fraud and deception about the nature of drugs called opioids,” said Hawley. “I am filing one of the largest lawsuits in Missouri history against three major pharmaceutical companies that have made billions in profits from the opioid epidemic.”
Hawley will attempt to prove that Purdue Pharmaceutical, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals violated Missouri’s consumer-protection laws and Medicaid statutes by committing fraud.
“We are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from these drug companies, and hundreds of millions more in civil penalties,” said Hawley. “We seek one of the largest judgments in Missouri history.”
This lawsuit comes after the state legislature failed to pass the Narcotics Control Act which would implement the country’s last, statewide prescription drug monitoring program.
Those who have been affected by opioid abuse and addiction said they hope this act gets the ball rolling on a PDMP in the state.
“My main thing is I don’t understand why,” said Eddie Bunnell, a former addict. “It’s obvious that we have a problem in our state and for them to just keep passing over the legislation? We’re the only state that doesn’t have a PDMP which makes absolutely no sense.”