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Tennessee House Speaker Asks Attorney General to Consider Suing Drug Firms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell is asking the state attorney general to consider suing painkiller manufacturers for their role in the ongoing opioid crisis.

Harwell's letter Thursday asks Attorney General Herbert Slatery to review a lawsuit filed by the state of Ohio.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued five drug companies Wednesday, accusing them of intentionally misleading patients about the dangers of painkillers and promoting benefits of the drugs not backed by science.

The companies sued by DeWine are Purdue Pharma; Endo Health Solutions; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary, Cephalon; Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and Allergan.

Harwell pointed out that Tennessee is consistently one of the worst states for opioid and prescription drug abuse. The overdose death rate in 2015 was 22 per 100,000 people.

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