20 Years After Big Tobacco, Is It Time for 'Big Pain'?

September 8, 2014 5:28 PM

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20 Years After Big Tobacco, Is It Time for 'Big Pain'?

It's long been said that trends start in California. With one eye on the balance sheet and one on the legal history books, five of the world's largest drug manufacturers are probably hoping that's not true. However, shortly after Orange and Santa Clara counties filed lawsuits against those companies for waging a "campaign of deception" in the marketing of their painkillers, the City of Chicago has also joined the fight, with many other state and local governments paying close attention and exploring their options. Any hope that the Golden State isn't blazing another new trail, it appears, may be misplaced.

While the legal basis of the California lawsuits might sound slightly mundane -- that the drug companies broke the law regarding false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance -- the damage alleged is anything but: These companies have created a nationwide "population of...

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