ST. LOUIS, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has filed a lawsuit against three drug manufacturing companies.
He alleges that the companies "fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell."
Purdue Pharmaceutical, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are all named in the suit. Hawley said the companies have violated the state's consumer-protection laws and Medicaid statutes.
During a press conference, Hawley said the companies have helped create an epidemic of drug abuse, "This epidemic is destroying families, taking lives, and tearing the social fabric of our state."
Hawley is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the drug companies, and hundreds of millions more in civil penalties.
According to Hawley, the opioid death rate in Missouri is 160% of the national average.
He presented statistics that showed that in 2012, physicians wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids in the United States. Hawley said that's 10 million more prescriptions than there are adults in the U.S.
Hawley filed the lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City.