Five drug companies are under fire for allegedly participating in “aggressive marketing” of prescription opioids. The City of Chicago and two California counties have filed two separate lawsuits blaming the drug companies for aggravating the opioid addiction epidemic in the United States. Among other allegations, the lawsuits claim that patient information groups received millions of dollars from the drug companies and, in return, the information groups played down the risks of the drugs. The City of Chicago claims the drug companies gave the American Pain Foundation $10 million and then the Foundation promotes messages such as, “opioids are rarely addictive when used properly for the management of chronic pain.” Similar lawsuits were successful against the tobacco industry in the 1990’s, leading to heavier restrictions on tobacco products.
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