FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced today that his office has filed an amended complaint in the civil lawsuit in South Dakota State Circuit Court against prescription drug manufacturers Purdue, Endo and Janssen.
The amended complaint adds new defendants in the form of generic drug manufacturers Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc., Allergan PLC, and Mallinckrodt LLC, as well as distributors, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., Amerisourcebergen Drug Corporation, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., and WalMart Inc.
“We are seeking to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for knowingly and deceptively harming South Dakotans,” said Ravnsborg. “The opioid crisis has been exacerbated by deceptive and misleading marketing and the failure to report suspicious orders as required by law. The people of South Dakota deserve to be treated fairly, with honesty and integrity in all matters and this is especially true in light of the severely damaging results these defendants have caused to many South Dakota families.”
The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies and manufacturers violated South Dakota’s Deceptive Trade laws and created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids. The allegations of false marketing included medical journal advertising, sales representative statements, and the use of front groups to deliver information which downplayed the risks and inflated the benefits of certain opioids for the treatment of chronic pain. Among other allegations, the distributors named failed to comply with their obligations under the law to report suspicious orders. This behavior intensified the prescription of opioids and fueled opioid abuse in South Dakota.
South Dakota’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties, costs to abate the nuisance, and reimbursement for damages and treatment costs. Additionally, the suit asks for an order to cease the unlawful promotion of opioids, correct misrepresentations, and comply with the law in regard to suspicious orders.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court. The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state. Visit www.atg.sd.gov to learn more.
CONTACT: Tim Bormann, Chief of Staff