South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is filing a lawsuit against three pharmaceutical companies alleging they misrepresented the effect of opioid painkillers.
The lawsuit alleges these companies took steps to conceal those risks.
Attorney General Jackley says many South Dakotans, both patients and doctors, relied on information provided by these opioid manufacturers.
So the state of South Dakota has filed a civil suit against Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Endo Health Solutions.
Jackley says the suit asks companies to stop misrepresentations and to ultimately, through treatment and other opportunities, address the opioid epidemic in South Dakota.
Jackley says he equates this lawsuit to the suits previous Attorneys General brought against tobacco companies.
“That when a manufacturer of a product talks about the benefits, talks about the risk, and makes knowing misrepresentations that puts at issue the public’s health, the law holds them responsible,” Jackley says. “That’s exactly what’s being alleged in the opioid complaint is these drug manufacturers knew exactly what they were representing. They took steps to conceal those risks and benefit issues. Its been to the detriment of South Dakota physicians, pharmacists and patients.”
Jackley says several other states, including Montana, have filed similar individual suits.
South Dakota is also part of a multi-state investigation into pharmaceutical distributors.