Orange County and Santa Clara Prosecutors Target 5 Companies Over Prescription Drugs

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The complaint targets Purdue Pharma L.P., Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc., and Actavis, Inc.

The district attorney offices of the counties of Orange and Santa Clara have teamed up to charge five large pharmaceutical companies with endangering patients and deceiving doctors by intentionally misrepresenting the dangerously addictive nature of painkillers to expand their markets and profits.

Behind the Orange Curtain and the OC OD Tsunami

The companies and their headquarters are: Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, CT; Cephalon, Inc. of Frazier, PA; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Titusville, N.J., and two Dublin, Ireland-based companies, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Actavis, Inc.

"As district attorney, I have the task of protecting the people of Orange County against false advertising and unfair business practices in consumer protection cases," says District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in a statement from his office.

"We have charged these pharmaceutical companies for knowingly harming public health by waging a massive campaign to sell huge quantities of these dangerous drugs for profit. It is imperative for prescription drugs to be taken to promote health, not endanger lives, and that those responsible for producing these drugs not engage in deception."

The complaint filed Wednesday specifically mentions opioids, a class of narcotic prescription painkillers that have reaped multi-billion-dollar profits for the drug industry--"at expense of patient health," the DA's office would add. Percocet and that old Rush Limbaugh standby OxyContin are among the brand names of these prescription drugs that can be as addictive and deadly as heroin.

"The defendants are accused of knowingly misleading doctors and patients about the proper use and risks of opioids," reads the OCDA statement. "They are accused of engaging in a decade-long intensive marketing campaign to misrepresent the benefits of using opioids for common non-cancer chronic pain such as back pain, arthritis, and headaches, despite warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that such claims were unsupported."

When it comes specifically to Orange County, the OCDA points to the 2012 Sheriff-Coroner Annual Report that revealed prescription drug overdose deaths here rose from 88 in 1999 to 188 in 2012. Meanwhile, the Orange County Health Care Agency observed 291 opioid overdoses in Orange County in 2012, amounting to almost 40 percent of accidental deaths in the county that year.

The OCDA invites "anyone with grievances or wishing to provide additional information" to leave a message on their Opioid Consumer Protection Hotline at (714) 347-0501.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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7 comments
fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

"Pop all the pills you want...but don't smoke that evil weed!" :-P

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Pain management clinics are where the action is at.  Doc will diagnose you with something ridiculous like fibromyalgia and you get all the opioids you need.  Yummy, Oxy.  Come and get it!

And, if the ol' fibro doesn't work, your doc will say you have rheumatoid arthritis and load you up with some delicious Hydrocodone and maybe a bonus pack of Xanax for the road.  

Orange County is turning into such a shit hole.  We're gonna be the next Niland or Slab City soon.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@20ftjesus 

My next door neighbor had a serious pain pill addiction. She went to a rehab and was resentful of being (gasp!) treated like a drug addict...because she (as she claimed) wasn't one of "those people". ::rolls eyes::

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@20ftjesus ... why should the Government control what people choose to use for personal pain relief?


How much pain would Jesus suffer?


HMPWJS?

robincook
robincook

@DonkeyHotay 

cause people like you have a tendency to take innocent bystanders with them on their way out.


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