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The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the state of Missouri. Families and communities across Missouri struggle each day with the effects of this devastating problem. This crisis has been fueled by fraud. Numerous pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, have profited from the suffering of Missourians. The Attorney General’s Office is leading the fight to put an end to this crisis and hold those companies responsible for their actions.  

On June 21, 2017, the Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging that these companies carried out a complex, multi-year campaign in which they deliberately misrepresented the addictive risks of opioids. This resulted in thousands of patients being given unnecessary opioid prescriptions, often to treat chronic pain.  This lawsuit seeks to hold the drug manufacturing companies accountable for their actions and begin the healing process for the families and communities that have suffered from this opioid epidemic.

In October 2017, the Attorney General widened his investigation by issuing civil investigative demands to three major opioid distributors. These investigative demands, the equivalent of a subpoena, require the distributors to provide documents and information relevant to the Attorney General Office’s ongoing investigation into the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in the opioid epidemic. The Office issued investigative demands to AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corporation.  

“It has become clear that opioid distributors had opportunities to stem the tide of the opioid crisis, but instead chose to look the other way while making millions of dollars in profit,” Hawley said. “Opioid distributors will not receive a free pass from my office. I am committed to holding all parties responsible for this epidemic and working toward solutions that will protect and heal our communities.”

In April, the Attorney General won a major court victory in the fight to hold opioid manufacturers responsible. The St. Louis Circuit Court rejected the opioid manufacturers' attempts to halt the case and ordered the lawsuit to proceed. The ruling denied the manufacturers' request to stay the lawsuit indefinitely. The Court also rejected the manufacturers’ motion to dismiss eight of the nine counts brought by the State. In addition, the ruling allows the Attorney General’s Office to seek punitive damages from the manufacturers.

Learn More

Press Release: AG Hawley Co-Sponsors Overdose Death Investigation and Prosecution Training for Missouri Prosecutors
Press Release: AG Hawley: Major Victory in Opioid Lawsuit, Will Move Forward
Press Release: MO AG Expands Opioid Investigation to Include Three Distributors
Press Release:
MO AG Expands Opioid Marketing Investigation to Seven Additional Pharmaceutical Companies
Press Release: MO AG Sues Opioid Manufacturers for Fraud
Document: View Petition

Fox News Interview - Fighting the Opioid Epidemic