Rutledge Announces Arkansas Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers Alongside Governor Hutchinson
March 29, 2018
Says, ‘The reckless actions of these opioid manufacturers have wreaked havoc upon Arkansas and her citizens for far too long’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was joined by Governor Asa Hutchinson today announcing that she has filed a lawsuit against the opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo on behalf of the State of Arkansas. Rutledge and Hutchinson are united in their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and will do everything in their powers to bring an end to this deadly issue, including legal action against the companies responsible for over-proliferation of opioids.
“The reckless actions of these opioid manufacturers have wreaked havoc upon Arkansas and her citizens for far too long,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not stand idly by and allow companies to reap billions in profits at the expense of our health and safety. The marketing schemes and misinformation campaigns utilized by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo are irresponsible and downright dangerous. This is a muti-faceted problem and we must take every action to solve it including holding those companies accountable that are responsible for the opioid epidemic.”
The opioid epidemic has devastated Arkansas and continues to cause lasting damage. The devastation began when opioid manufacturers intentionally started to mislead the medical community and public about the dangers of opioids. These manufacturers propagated use of opioids as a non-addictive treatment for chronic pain. This was a catastrophic lie. Rutledge is suing the opioid manufacturers who created the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. The suit is seeking restitution for the damage caused by opioid misuse, costs associated with ending the opioid epidemic and fines.
“Over the years, I have seen the drug fight as a community leader, as a member of Congress, as a federal prosecutor, as director of the DEA and now as governor,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “The opioid epidemic will not yield unless we continue taking critical steps to fight back. We have seen opioid abuse affect communities all across the country, including right here in Arkansas, and I am pleased that we are working to identify responsible partners who can make a difference in curtailing the abuse of opioids.”
This lawsuit is just the newest step in Rutledge’s multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis. Last fall Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 49 schools across 44 counties and reached over 3,800 students with an additional 20 schools committed to launch the program this fall. Each year, Rutledge has partnered with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. And in addition to the bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Rutledge began partnering in 2016 with local law enforcement across the State to provide prescription drug take back boxes at every mobile office, held yearly in all 75 counties. To date, nearly 500 pounds of prescription drugs and have been collected and disposed of safely – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.