CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed suit Friday against two major manufacturers of opioid painkillers – Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The Attorney General alleges that both manufacturers helped fuel the opioid epidemic by individually engaging in strategic campaigns to deceive prescribers and misrepresent the risks and benefits of opioid painkillers.
“The widespread deception alleged in our lawsuits cannot be tolerated,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Bad actors within the pharmaceutical supply channel cause immense harm to the state of West Virginia and its citizens. They must be held accountable for their actions.”
The lawsuits, filed separately in Boone County Circuit Court, allege the defendants fraudulently concealed misconduct, mischaracterized and failed to disclose the serious risk of addiction, overstated the benefits of chronic opioid therapy and promoted higher dosage amounts without disclosing inherently greater risks.
The Attorney General alleged that the manufacturers’ conduct violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and caused a public nuisance. Both lawsuits seek injunctive and equitable relief.
The Teva Pharmaceuticals lawsuit also names Cephalon Inc. as a defendant, both are subsidiaries of Teva Pharmaceuticals.