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Prosecutors target opioid drug makers for deceptive marketing

Three Tennessee prosecutors have filed a lawsuit accusing several drug manufacturers of deceptive marketing which they say resulted in an epidemic of addiction to painkillers. The lawsuit is also being taken by the guardian of a baby which was born dependent on opioid drugs.

According to the suit, Baby Doe spent his first days in the neonatal intensive care unit in agony as he went through detoxification. The infant boy, who is not identified, was born to an addicted mother survived after spending 14 days in a neonatal intensive care unit. The child continues to suffer from numerous health and learning disabilities.

The lawsuit was filed by three district attorneys who represent parts of the east Tennessee mountains in Appalachia. This has been the center of the prescription drug epidemic in Tennessee.

Tennessee has the second highest statewide opioid prescription rate in the country outside West Virginia, said Barry Staubus, a district attorney who represents Sullivan County. Tony Clark and Dan Armstrong are the other prosecutors who joined in the suit against three drug companies and their subsidiaries.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin; Mallinckrodt PLC, which manufactures and sells multiple painkillers; and Endo Health Solutions, which develops and sells several painkillers, including Opana.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.