Pain Point/Counterpoint

  • by: |
  • 09/09/2014

In a Huffington Post article, Patrick Krill, director of the Legal Professionals Program in the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, in an Huffington Post voices support for the recent lawsuits by California and Chicago against the manufacturers of opioid painkillers, pointing out that the some pharmaceutical companies “used deliberately misleading marketing techniques to cause an explosion in prescriptions for, and sales of, some of the most addictive chemical compounds man has ever engineered.”

At the same time, per, numerous pharmaceutical companies asked an Illinois federal judge on Friday to throw out the city of Chicago's suit claiming that their allegedly irresponsible marketing of addictive opioid painkillers has caused a costly public health crisis, arguing that the claims are too generalized to move forward.

 In multiple motions to dismiss, Purdue, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Actavis PLC make similar arguments asking U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo to toss the case. According to the drug companies, the complaint fails to adequately state a claim against individual defendants, some of which the companies say are barely mentioned in the complaint at all.

 “The city simply lumps all defendants together as a group, ignoring relevant differences between the drugs they are alleged to have manufactured, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration-approved indications and the warnings the drugs carried, and the dates the drugs were marketed, and providing no specifics about any defendant’s alleged role in the alleged scheme,” the drug companies’ motion states. “The complaint could serve as a textbook example of improper group pleading.”

In addition to arguing the case should be tossed because of a failure to state a claim, the drug companies urged Judge Bucklo to dismiss Chicago’s complaint based on the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, arguing the city’s claims raise complex issues uniquely suited for the FDA and that those issues are currently being considered by the agency.

“In asking this court to decide scientific and policy matters that fall squarely within the province of, and are currently being addressed by, the FDA, the city has jumped the gun by suing before the FDA has resolved those issues,” the defendants’ motion states. “As multiple courts have done, this court should dismiss or stay this action to allow the FDA to first address these matters within the framework it has defined and is currently implementing.”

 The case is City of Chicago v. Purdue Pharma LP, et al., case number 1:14-cv-04361, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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