Arkansas judge refuses to dismiss claims against drug makers

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An Arkansas judge has rejected a request to dismiss the state’s lawsuit against three drugmakers that alleges they made false marketing claims about the benefits and risks of opioids, contributing to an increase in opioid abuse that led to overdose deaths.

Court records show Pulaski County District Judge Morgan Welch on Friday denied the motion by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo Pharmaceuticals.

The companies argued that federal law gives the federal Food and Drug Administration authority over the labeling of approved drugs.

The ruling first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says the lawsuit alleges fraudulent marketing of opioids, not a failure to comply with labeling requirements.

Thousands of similar lawsuits are pending nationwide against dozens of drugmakers and Purdue recently settled such a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million.

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