New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his administration is filing a lawsuit against a second opioid manufacturer.
On Wednesday, he said the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has filed administrative charges and initiated administrative proceedings against Endo International plc and its subsidiaries, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. for their role in the opioid epidemic.
As part of DFS’ ongoing investigation into the opioid crisis, the department said it found that Endo manufactured approximately 18.4 percent of the opioids that entered NY between 2006 and 2014.
“All these opioid manufacturers knew how addictive and dangerous their products were, and they used it as a reckless business model for their own financial gain at the cost of thousands of human lives and billions of dollars. New York demands accountability from the drug companies and others responsible for the opioid epidemic that continues to devastate families and communities throughout the state and across the country,” Governor Cuomo said. “Their greedy, fraudulent behavior is inexcusable, and New York will make sure that justice is served and these big pharmaceutical companies are ultimately held responsible for their actions.”
According to DFS, the company knowingly promoted the false narrative that opioids are an appropriate treatment for pain while downplaying their addictive nature, and misrepresented the safety of the products without proof.
In fact, according to DFS, Endo marketed a reformulated version of Opana as “abuse-resistant” without having any legitimate basis for making that claim. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Endo to take the product, Reformulated Opana ER, off the market because of its highly addictive nature.
In the complaint, DFS said Endo committed insurance fraud and financial fraud through intentional misrepresentation of material fact. The penalty for each of those charges is up to $5,000 per violation. DFS contends that each opioid prescription constitutes a separate violation.
The hearing for the charges against Endo is scheduled to begin on Oct. 26, 2020.