On Tuesday this week, South Carolina became the latest state to sue Purdue Pharma, accusing the drugmaker of deceptively marketing their addictive products in a way that fueled the ongoing opioid crisis.
The state’s attorney general said that Purdue told doctors that opioids are not addictive and patients who appear to be addicted were only “pseudoaddicted” and simply needed more drugs.
91 people die everyday in the U.S. from an opioid-related overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“While there is a time and place for patients to receive opioids, Purdue prevented doctors and patients from receiving complete and accurate information about opioids in order to make informed choices about their treatment options,” AG Alan Wilson said in a statement.
Purdue has denied the allegations, according to Reuters.
An array of opioid-makers have been sued over their products in the last year. States like Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi and New Hampshire have all accused various drugmakers of practicing marketing strategies that downplayed the addictive qualities of opioids.
Some states have chosen to sue drug distributors, instead of manufacturers, arguing that they’re targeting the source of the issue and that drug distributors are, in some cases, mishandling orders.
Since July, ten counties and cities in Alabama and Ohio have taken three wholesale distributors to federal court, claiming that the companies failed to report suspicious orders.
Last week, President Trump said that he is preparing to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. This is a reversal from an announcement made earlier this month by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who said that they would not make such a move.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump reportedly said, according to The Hill. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
But since Trump made the announcement, he has not taken any formal action to declare a national emergency.