|EAU CLAIRE – Dana Wachs today called on Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to join the more than a dozen bipartisan states in suing American pharmaceutical companies for misleading marketing of prescription painkillers that led to the ongoing opioid crisis in America:
“Wealthy drug companies have been peddling highly addictive painkillers for decades while telling Americans that they were safe. It’s about time they are held accountable for their lies.
“Gov. Walker and Attorney General Schimel have failed to stand up for Wisconsinites whose lives were ruined or even ended by prescription opioids. It’s time they join the more than a dozen states across America and sue big pharma.
“Twenty-eight counties in Wisconsin are already suing pharmaceutical companies for their misleading marketing that has endangered the lives of our citizens. Our counties have better leadership than the governor’s office.
“Opioid addiction has impacted nearly every community across our state. I doubt you could find a community in our state that has not been heartbroken by this crisis.
“Last year, 827 of our people died from opioid overdoses. From 2000 to 2016, the number of overdose deaths caused by prescription opioids increased 600 percent. Big pharmaceuticals cannot ignore it anymore. Their heavily marketed prescription painkillers are killing Wisconsinites. They have to be held accountable, and it has to end.
“Gov. Walker has failed to protect Wisconsinites and he’s failed to lead on holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions.”
More than 100 lawsuits have been filed against major pharmaceutical companies in the last several years. The lawsuits include claims that pharmaceutical companies have misled consumers and physicians with false claims of safety and to recover the costs of battling the opioid addiction in communities across America.
Twenty-eight Wisconsin counties in Wisconsin have sued major pharmaceutical companies to recover taxpayer funds spent on the effects of opioid addiction, including the costs of law enforcement, medical and emergency care, and social services.
Other opioid statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services include:
- More people in Wisconsin died of opioid overdoses in 2016 than were killed in car accidents.
- Heroin overdoses killed 371 Wisconsinites in 2016.