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J&J, Endo, Purdue sued by Arkansas over opioid marketing practices

Arkansas has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma Inc. and Endo International PLC for their marketing practices for opioids.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge claims that "the reckless actions of these opioid manufacturers have wreaked havoc upon Arkansas and her citizens for far too long."

Rutledge alleges that the drug manufacturers violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. She claims that the "marketing schemes and misinformation campaigns utilized by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo are irresponsible and downright dangerous."

The lawsuit also claims that the companies propagated use of opioids as a nonaddictive treatment for chronic pain. The suit seeks restitution for the damage caused by opioid misuse, costs associated with ending the opioid epidemic and fines.

In a statement to Reuters, Johnson called its marketing activities "appropriate and responsible," while Endo did not comment.

Earlier in March, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley filed a lawsuit against the three drug manufacturers for the deceptive marketing and sale of prescription opioids.

Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, two-thirds of all of drug overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.