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Attorney general to investigate opioid marketing practices

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Attorney General Joseph Foster has launched an investigation into the manner in which several pharmaceutical companies have marketed prescription opioids in New Hampshire.

The investigation was started after review of preliminary information indicated that drug companies may have deceptively minimized the risk of addiction from long-term use of narcotic painkillers and exaggerated their benefits for treating chronic pain. If supported, allegations of such fraudulent marketing could have misled doctors and patients and prevented them from making informed decisions about whether, when and how to use the drugs and might have caused the state to pay for potentially dangerous and unnecessary opioid prescriptions.

“As is evident to medical professionals, law enforcement and families across the state, we have an opioid crisis in which overprescribing of opioids has created a corresponding wave of abuse, diversion and addiction, with tragic results for individual patients, their loved ones and communities,” said Foster. “The increased and widespread use, abuse and misuse of opioids has had a corresponding impact on the rise of the use of heroin, to which users turn when they can no longer obtain or afford prescription drugs. The cost in individual suffering and to healthcare and law enforcement has been, quite simply, overwhelming. We have a responsibility to understand and address its causes.”

Foster’s office is involved in many aspects of the opioid crisis in New Hampshire and currently is working with a committee established by the governor to present revised rules to the New Hampshire Board of Medicine with the goal of adopting protocols that all practitioners must follow when prescribing opioids.

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