Drug companies ask Oklahoma judge to dismiss opioid lawsuit

Drug companies have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma's attorney general accusing them of fueling the state's opioid epidemic through fraudulent marketing.

About a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma L.P., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Allergan PLC, filed a brief Friday saying they've complied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirements to warn the public about potential risks that come with using their drugs, The Oklahoman reported .

They also say they can't be blamed for all the state's opioid-related problems.

"Attributing all of Oklahoma's opioid-related problems to supposedly fraudulent marketing materials and other publications, many of which are over a decade old, the state misconstrues a complex public-health crisis involving a host of different actors and intervening causes," the companies say in the brief.

If Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman doesn't dismiss the case, drug companies are asking for proceedings to be delayed until the FDA can complete an investigation of the risks and benefits of opioids.

The companies were responding to Attorney General Mike Hunter's June lawsuit accusing them of making billions of dollars through fraudulent marketing that has created "a generation of Oklahomans who have become addicts, convicts or have met their deaths from opioid overdoses."

One example Hunter cited was a promotional video that claimed drug addiction rates among pain patients who are treated by doctors is less than 1 percent and that drugs don't have serious medical side effects.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com