Professor Robert Fellmeth Quoted in LA Times Article About Lawsuit Accusing Drug Makers of False Advertising

Price Professor of Public Interest Law Robert Fellmeth

Los Angeles (May 21, 2014) – The Los Angeles Times quoted University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Robert Fellmeth in an article reporting on a landmark lawsuit pitting the State of California against prescription drug makers Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' Cephalon Inc. Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law and the executive director of the Center for Public Interest Law at USD.

Officials from Orange and Santa Clara counties—both hit hard by overdose deaths, emergency room visits and escalating medical costs associated with prescription narcotics—brought forth the lawsuit and contend drug makers violated California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance.

The lawsuit alleges drug companies have reaped blockbuster profits by manipulating doctors into believing the benefits of narcotic painkillers outweighed the risks, despite "a wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary." The effort "opened the floodgates" for such drugs and "the result has been catastrophic," the lawsuit contends.

In Orange County, where the lawsuit alleges there is a painkiller-related death every other day, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said he decided to pursue the case "as a matter of public protection." The primary goal, Rackauckas said in an interview, is "to stop the lies about what these drugs do."

Fellmeth, a former deputy district attorney, said in the article that he expects the manufacturers to challenge the counties' authority over federally regulated drugs.

But Fellmeth, who served as an expert witness in the tobacco litigation and helped write the unfair business practices law, says the case is precisely what the statute was designed for.

"California is suffering disproportionately from this problem, so it is appropriate for this state to take up this hammer," he said.

Read the full article on

About Robert Fellmeth

Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of children's rights, regulation, antitrust, and consumer law. Professor Fellmeth is also the executive director of both USD’s Center for Public Interest Law and Children's Advocacy Institute.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Celebrating 60 years of alumni success, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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