ST. LOUIS - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is suing three large pharmaceutical companies, saying their "campaign of deception" led to a startling opioid crisis in the state.
Hawley, a Republican, spoke Wednesday at a news conference in St. Louis, where the suit is being filed. The suit seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in both damages and civil penalties. It names Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
"They use fraudulent advertising and deceptive trade practices and lied about the risk and addictive nature of the drugs they have sold," said Hawley.
The complaint says the companies violated state consumer protection laws, misleading doctors and consumers by fraudulently misrepresenting risks posed by the drugs that they make and sell.
Jammie Fabick lost her 17- year -old daughter Helen to an overdose in 2014 and wants to do everything she can to help other families.
"It takes you back every day; and I think I have to live another day without her. But the beautiful side of what we've been through is that we can help. I believe in education," said Fabick.
Since 2016 more than 650 people have died from opioid and heroin overdoes in the state of Missouri. A number the Attorney General, Fabick and others are trying to change.
"I believe there will be action, other states will follow suit . You can't look at the numbers and hide anymore," said Fabick.
Other states have also sued pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis, starting with Mississippi in 2015.