Concord, NH – The State Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation into the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies when it comes to opiods. Attorney General Joseph A Foster said that preliminary information indicated that drug companies might have minimized the actual risk of addiction from long-term use of narcotic painkillers and exaggerated their benefits for treating chronic pain. If the allegations are proven to be true, then fraudulent marketing could have misled doctors and patient and prevented them from making informed decisions about whether, or not to use the drugs.
The Attorney General Said “As is evident to medical professionals, law enforcement, and families across the State, we have an opioid crisis in which overprescribing of opioids has created a corresponding wave of abuse, diversion, and addiction, with tragic results for individual patients, their loved ones, and communities. The increased and widespread use, abuse, and misuse, of opioids has had a corresponding impact on the rise of the use of heroin, to which users turn when they can no longer obtain or afford prescription drugs. The cost in individual suffering and to health care and law enforcement has been, quite simply, overwhelming. We have a responsibility to understand and address its causes.”
The Attorney General’s office is currently working with a committee established by the Governor to create new rules with the goal of adopting protocols that all practitioners must follow when prescribing opioids.
Governor Maggie Hassan said, “”The growing heroin and opioid crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, and it stems in part from the overuse, misuse, and abuse of addictive prescription opioids. As we work to improve provider training and to develop stronger, more explicit and more up-to-date rules on the prescribing of opioids, this investigation will help us better understand and combat the causes of the heroin and opioid crisis. I thank the Attorney General and the Department of Justice for launching this investigation, and I will continue to work with stakeholders at all levels to strengthen our ongoing efforts to address heroin and opioid abuse.”
The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll is assisting in the investigation. Working under the direction of the Attorney General’s Office, the law firm will bring needed additional resources to handle an investigation of this size.
New Hampshire has launched a number of initiatives aimed at tackling drug addiction, including a plan to distribute naloxone an opiod overdose combatant drug for free to those in need. Governor Maggie Hassan and other Officials discussed details of that program this afternoon at a press conference in Concord.
Individuals who have information that might assist this investigation – medical providers, patients, or others – are strongly encouraged to contact Senior Assistant Attorney General James T. Boffetti at 603-271-0302.