Kwame RaoulThe Illinois Attorney General’s office has filed another lawsuit against several drug companies alleging they used deceptive marketing practices to sell opioids.

The latest lawsuit is similar to the one Illinois filed earlier this year against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed suit against Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Cephalon Inc., Allergan Finance LLC, Actavis Pharma Inc., Actavis LLC, Watson Laboratories Inc., McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.

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The lawsuits are part of the Attorney General's “ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and hold accountable companies whose deceptive practices have increased opioid prescriptions at the expense of public health,” according to a news release.

The lawsuit accuses the pharmaceutical companies of engaging in deceptive marketing practices to drive opioid prescriptions.

“These companies pushed for more opioids to be prescribed, at higher doses, and for longer periods of time,” said Annie Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office.

Thompson said the companies then marketed the drugs as helpful for treating pain “while underplaying the addictive aspects” of the opioid medications.

Thomson said the main goal of the lawsuit was to “hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the devastation that their products have caused throughout Illinois, and really throughout the country.”

The lawsuit also alleges that many of the pharmaceutical companies failed to investigate suspicious orders of opiates, including hydrocodone and morphine.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a similar lawsuit against Perdue Pharma earlier this year. Last month, that suit was expanded to include several members of the Sackler family, who founded and own Purdue Pharma.

Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday night in federal court in New York. The filing could help position the company as it tries to resolve lawsuits filed by nearly every state, including Illinois, along with thousands of municipalities.

Last week, Raoul said his office was prepared to hold the Sackler family accountable “regardless of whether or not Purdue declares bankruptcy, and I am pleased that a majority of states will continue to fight.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s office warned that “opioids are often prescribed to treat severe pain, as they reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain; however, they can have serious side effects and are highly addictive.”

More than 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said opioid overdoes caused more than 2,000 deaths in Illinois in 2017.

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