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More Drugmakers Get Subpoenas From Missouri Attorney General

  • Requests for information sent to seven additional drugmakers
  • Hawley in June sued three companies over marketing tactics

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley expanded his probe into the promotion of opioids by pharmaceutical companies, sending subpoenas to seven more drugmakers seeking information about how they market the painkillers.

Allergan Plc, Depomed Inc., Insys Therapeutics Inc., Mallinckrodt Plc, Mylan NV, Pfizer Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. were sent subpoenas from Hawley, a Republican. In June, he sued Purdue Pharma Inc., Endo International Plc and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. for allegedly misrepresenting the dangers of the opioids they sell, according to a statement from the attorney general.

Hawley is among officials in more than 20 U.S. states that have taken aim at drugmakers, claiming they fueled a public-health crisis with misleading marketing and aggressive distribution of opioids. South Carolina this month became the sixth state to sue pharmaceutical companies alleging they have created a public health crisis.

In addition to the companies’ marketing practices, Hawley requested information about their involvement with industry organizations that promoted opioids.

“Our office is dedicated to stemming the tide of opioid abuse in Missouri,” Hawley said in a statement.

Company Statements

Allergan said in a statement that it fully intends to cooperate with Hawley on the matter. The company said its two branded opioid products, Norco and Kadian, account for less than 0.1 percent of all such products sold in the U.S.

“Allergan has a history of supporting -- and continues to support -- the safe, responsible use of prescription medications," the company said.

Mallinckrodt said in a statement posted on its website that it believes it has acted and continues to act "lawfully and responsibly." The company said its generic and branded opioids account for less than 10 percent of sales.

"We recognize that the opioid epidemic is a complex and confounding problem, and no one policy initiative or program will solve it," the company said.

Mylan declined to comment on the subpoena, spokeswoman Nina Devlin said.

"Teva is committed to the appropriate promotion and use of opioids," spokeswoman Denise Bradley said in an email.

Representatives of the three other companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Big Pharma’s Tobacco Moment as Star Lawyers Push Opioid Suits

Hawley’s suit was filed just days after a bipartisan group of states led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey began issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony to opiod makers, without naming any of her targets. There were more than 22,000 deaths in the U.S. from prescription opioids in 2015, an increase from 19,000 in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The case is Missouri v. Purdue Pharma LP, 1722-CC10626, Missouri Circuit Court, St. Louis.

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