Novus Detox Center Hails Missouri Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

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In response to his state’s opioid crisis, Missouri’s Attorney General is suing three pharmaceutical firms for fraud and investigating seven others. Novus Detox Center supports state efforts to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for today’s epidemic.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley recently filed a lawsuit against three major opioid manufacturers, accusing them of a “deliberate campaign of fraud”;(1) and he has subsequently expanded his investigation to include seven additional pharmaceutical companies.(2) Novus Detox Center, a preeminent Florida-based drug treatment provider, believes painkiller manufacturers should be held responsible for their role in the U.S. opioid crisis and hopes that Missouri and other states will find recourse through the law.

In 2015, Missouri’s age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths was 17.9, with overdoses claiming 1,066 lives statewide.(3) Last year, opioid overdoses alone—including prescription painkillers and heroin—led to 712 fatalities in the St. Louis metro area that spans Missouri and Illinois.(1) Hawley claims that opioid manufacturers have directly contributed to the current crisis by deceiving physicians and patients about the risks of the medications they make and market.

Missouri’s June 2017 lawsuit outlines evidence against Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and is seeking “hundreds of millions of dollars” in damages against them.(1) In late August, Hawley expanded his investigation to include seven additional firms—Allergan, Depomed, Insys, Mallinckrodt, Mylan, Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals—that he believes may have engaged in “deception, fraud, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practices, and/or the concealment, suppression or omission of material facts in connection with the sale or advertisement of opioids.”(2)

“Opioid manufacturers have long downplayed or even falsified the risks of their prescription painkillers, spending vast sums on marketing, advertising and lobbying while leaving states to deal with rising opioid use disorders and overdose deaths,” asserted Bryn Wesch, CEO of Novus Detox Center. “If pharmaceutical firms had been transparent about opioids’ potential for misuse and abuse from the outset, we likely would not be dealing with a national epidemic today. Instead, their relentless pursuit of profits and callous disregard for patients’ long-term health and wellbeing continues to destroy lives and impose a growing economic burden.”

Missouri’s legal salvo follows similar cases initiated by Mississippi and Ohio earlier this year(1) as well as a Cherokee Nation opioid lawsuit filed in April. Though some policy experts suggest the allegations may be challenging to prove, oxycodone manufacturer Mallinckrodt has already agreed to pay a $35 million settlement following a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation.(1) Among the evidence cited in Hawley’s lawsuit are drug makers’ dismissal of addiction symptoms as “pseudoaddiction,” Purdue’s “medically inaccurate” Opioid Risk Tool and pharmaceutical firms’ use of third-party advocacy groups to disseminate misleading narratives regarding opioids’ safety.(1)

“The sheer number of patients prescribed opioids—combined with the push for high-dose painkillers and their widespread use to treat chronic pain—has left millions of Americans trapped in a vicious cycle of dependency,” explained Wesch. “It’s vital to help those with substance use disorders obtain the treatment they need to safely taper down from and end their opioid use, and we believe painkiller manufacturers should be helping to fund those treatments. As a growing number of states pursue legal recourse to hold drug manufacturers accountable for their actions and deceptions, I hope we will see more patients gain access to the care they need to reclaim their lives from opioids.

Wesch advocates for patients to receive expert, integrated care throughout their journey to recovery, from safe and effective opioid detox programs to referrals to reputable drug rehab and outpatient services. She is a proponent of medically supervised and individually customized detox treatments coupled with emotional support to help recondition both body and mind, creating a solid foundation for sustainable sobriety and empowering patients to achieve a healthy, drug-free life.

For more information on Novus Detox Center and its medically supervised opioid treatment programs, visit

About Novus Detox Center:
Novus Detox Center is soon to be operating two inpatient medical detox facilities that are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. Renowned for its pioneering approach to Sustainable Sobriety™, Novus provides safe and effective alcohol and drug detox programs that combine next-generation treatment protocols, 24/7 medical supervision and integrated, individualized care. By conditioning the body and mind to re-imagine a fulfilling, drug-free future, Novus empowers patients on their journey to recovery and creates a solid foundation for long-term success. Novus is committed to leading the way in patient experience, both as a detoxification expert and a supportive partner in ongoing health and wellness, and is dedicated to pushing industry standards forward. The original Florida detox facility is located in New Port Richey (outside Tampa) and another is soon to open in West Palm Beach; both feature a wide range of amenities, delicious and healthy meals, and a relaxing, spa-like environment to ensure the withdrawal process is as stress-free and comfortable and as possible. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs, visit

1.    Bouscaren, Durrie. “Missouri Attorney General Sues Three Opioid Drugmakers Over False Claims, Advertising”; St. Louis Public Radio; June 21, 2017.

2.    Zhou, Janice. “Missouri Attorney General's Office Announces Investigation Into Opioid Marketing”; Columbia Missourian; August 30, 2017.

3.    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Drug Overdose Death Data: 2015 Deaths”; CDC website; last updated December 16, 2016.

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Karla Jo Helms
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