New Hampshire to Investigate Opioid Manufacturers Over Drug Safety
New Hampshire’s attorney general is investigating whether some opioid manufacturers knowingly misled doctors and patients about their drugs’ safety and benefits, causing the state to pay for potentially dangerous and unnecessary opioid prescriptions.
The case is the third in the U.S. to focus on opioid makers’ marketing practices in the past two years. A case brought by two California counties against Purdue, Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson and Teva was halted in August, pending the outcome of postmarket safety studies the FDA is requiring on the drugs. A June 2014 complaint filed by the city of Chicago against the same drugmakers is pending in federal court.
The New Hampshire inquiry, announced last week, follows a review of “preliminary information” suggesting certain drugmakers minimized the risk of addiction from long-term use and exaggerated the painkillers’ benefits in marketing materials.
James Boffetti, senior assistant attorney general for the state, saidthe inquiry will focus on major opioid manufacturers. He declined to name any companies, noting the case is still in the preliminary stages, but confirmed it was not triggered by a whistleblower.
The attorney general’s office is seeking information from medical providers and patients to assist with the investigation. At this point, the case doesn’t involve additional states, but Boffetti says his office would be willing to coordinate with other attorneys general.
New Hampshire’s Justice Department has retained Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll — the same law firm that represented the counties in People of the State of California v Purdue Pharma, et. al. — Jonathon Shacat