FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin
Pharmaceuticals / Postmarket Safety

South Dakota Tribes Sue Opioid Drugmakers for RICO Violations

Jan. 16, 2018

Three South Dakota tribes sued two dozen drugmakers including Allergan, Teva and Purdue alleging the companies violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act and engaged in fraud and deception in pushing their opioid products.

The three Native American tribes — the Rosebud Sioux, Flandreau Santee Sioux and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate — filed their complaint Monday in the South Dakota District Court.

The lawsuit alleges the drugmakers used deceptive marketing to convince doctors and patients of the value of opioids in treating chronic pain, while also spending millions of dollars to deny or downplay the risks – using third parties to present the information as coming from independent sources, as well as paying doctors to act as “key opinion leaders” who weighed in on the drugs’ safety.

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