Illinois Attorney General Files Lawsuit against Opioid Distributors, Manufacturers

Illinois Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen companies for their roles in the opioid epidemic.

According to the suit, opioid manufacturers carried out unfair and deceptive marketing campaigns that prioritized profits over public health, while distributors flooded the state with opioids and failed in their role as gatekeepers in preventing the diversion of opioids.

The companies selfishly and irresponsibly sacrificed the health and safety of Illinois residents for their own financial gain. Their actions played a key role in the over-prescription, misuse, abuse, and diversion of dangerous opioids that resulted in an opioid crisis.

The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court against Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Allergan Finance, LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc.; Actavis LLC; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.

Manufacturers allegedly sought to convince health care providers and patients that opioids were a safe and effective treatment by minimizing the risk of addiction and making false and unsubstantiated claims about the drugs’ benefits, according to the attorney general’s office.

Opioid distributors McKesson, Cardinal, and Amerisource Bergen contributed to the opioid epidemic by neglecting their responsibility to identify, report and stop suspicious orders, the lawsuit alleges. These distributors flooded the state with hundreds of millions of opioids with little oversight, fuelling the diversion of these drugs toward illegal and harmful uses.

More than 2,000 Illinois residents died from opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The lawsuit seeks that the court prohibits the manufacturers’ and distributors’ deceptive and unfair conduct in order to ensure it doesn’t occur again and to hold the companies accountable.