Texas AG Ken Paxton (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched a probe into two pharmaceutical companies that allegedly advertised costly puberty-blocking drugs for children who say they are transgender, despite the drugs lacking FDA approval to treat gender dysphoria.

“The manufacture, sale, prescription, and use of puberty blockers on young teens and minors is dangerous and reckless,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a press release Monday. “These drugs were approved for very different purposes and can have detrimental and even irreversible side effects. I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Texas children.”

“The OAG has the authority to investigate false, misleading, and deceptive conduct by businesses in Texas, and to take legal action to enforce the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” he added.

The companies under investigation are Endo Pharmaceuticals and AbbVie Inc., which both allegedly peddled hormone blockers for “unapproved uses without disclosing the potential risks associated with these drugs to children and their parents.” Paxton’s probe will seek to discover whether the corporations violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Paxton’s office defines gender dysphoria as “a diagnosed mental disorder in which a person experiences significant distress related to a strong desire to be of another biological sex.”

The FDA has not approved Supprelin LA and Lupron Depot, the drugs in question, as treatments for gender dysphoria, but they can legally treat children with Central Precocious Puberty (CPP), when the puberty begins at an abnormally early age. Another drug the companies allegedly pushed for gender dysphoria, Vantas, is technically only meant to alleviate prostate cancer symptoms. Endo Pharmaceuticals claimed it has only promoted Supprelin LA for its legal use as a CPP remedy and that it has not recommended Vantas at all for years.

“Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. manufactures and markets Supprelin® LA for the treatment of children with central precocious puberty (CPP),” Heather Zoumas Lubeski, a spokeswoman for the company, told Fox News. While she denied that the company committed any ethical wrongdoing, she said it will comply with the attorney general’s requests.

“The company has not promoted either of these medications outside of their indications and does not promote medications for off-label uses. That being said, we intend to fully cooperate with this inquiry/investigation,” she noted. “We do not have any approved medications indicated for gender dysphoria and we do not promote medications for off-label uses.”

Texas has been at the forefront of transgender issue. Republican Governor Greg Abbott ordered the state Department of Family Protective Services in August to determine whether gender-transition surgery on children constitutes child abuse. Rather than administering puberty blocking drugs, that inquiry focused on surgical procedures that would “sterilize the child, such as orchiectomy or hysterectomy, or remove otherwise healthy body parts, such as penectomy or mastectomy.”

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