Virginia's attorney general sues fentanyl manufacturer for 'deceiving the public'

Lawsuit centers on marketing of two powerful opioids

ROANOKE, Va. – A top state official is targeting a major fentanyl manufacturer for "deceiving the public" about the risks of its products.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed a lawsuit Thursday in Richmond City Circuit Court against opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals and its predecessor, Cephalon, for engaging in what he calls an "unlawful, complex, decades-long campaign to boost sales of fentanyl."

Fentanyl is the most potent narcotic currently approved for human use, officials say.

Herring alleges that the manufacturers coordinated a decadeslong campaign to turn fentanyl into a routine part of pain management in America.

Herring also pointed to Teva and Cephalon's research, which, according to Herring, showed "alarming risks of abuse, addiction and even death," but the companies chose "profit over people."

The suit centers on the marketing and promotion of Actiq and Fentora, which are both rapid-acting opioids.

Actiq is described as a "raspberry-flavored fentanyl lollipop," and Fentora is a rapid release tablet. The approved use of these two drugs has typically been reserved for cancer patients, especially those who are terminally ill or whose pain can't be relieved by any other means.

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