California counties sue over painkiller marketing

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Updated: 5/22 1:31 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two California counties have filed a lawsuit accusing five drug companies of waging a campaign of deception to boost the sales of painkillers behind the nation's prescription drug addiction problem.

Orange and Santa Clara counties filed the suit Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court, alleging false advertising, unfair competition and creating a public nuisance.

The five companies are Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' Cephalon Inc.

Much like the legal attack on tobacco companies two decades ago by many states, the current lawsuit accuses the drug companies of making misleading and false claims about the safety of products consumed annually by millions of Americans.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the companies' marketing campaigns and demands unspecified damages.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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