Tennessee's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against drug company Endo Pharmaceuticals for its contribution to the opioid epidemic.
The suit alleges that Endo made unlawful and false claims about the safety and benefits of its opioid products, namely Opana, which was marketed as ab better alternative to drugs like Oxycontin.
“Our Office has conducted an extensive investigation into Endo’s unlawful marketing practices which included targeting vulnerable populations like the elderly,” said Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. “Endo has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for its unconscionable conduct, which is why we are taking this action.”
In the suit, the state accuses Endo of deceptively marketing its opioid products as being less addictive and more effective than others on the market.
"It did this despite evidence to the contrary, including the FDA’s explicit rejection of Endo’s claim that Opana ER was resistant to abuse as well as overwhelming evidence that Opana ER was being abused throughout Tennessee," according to a press release.
The state claims that Endo also knew that use of its opioid products also brought increased risks of respiratory depression and death in elderly patients, and failed to clearly disclose those risks while it specifically targeted patients in that age group.
The exact contents of the lawsuit are under a temporary seal because Endo claims the information produced during the State’s investigation is confidential. That seal could expire in 10 days unless Endo acts to extend it.
Slattery wants the lawsuit made public.
"Efforts to keep it confidential will only prolong and diminish Endo’s accountability for its conduct," he said in a press release.
The state filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, maker of the highly profitable and highly popular OxyContin, last year.