Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

US state attorneys general sue Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

The attorneys general of five other states took similar legal action today against the Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical giant.

"It's time the defendants pay for the pain and the destruction they've caused", Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi said during a broadcast of the announcement.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

Laxalt says, "In 2012, on a national level, providers wrote enough opioid prescriptions for every adult American to have a bottle of pills". In addition, public health advocates have expressed fear that things will get worse in Texas due to lack of access to substance abuse treatment, particularly in rural counties.

During a May 15 press conference, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over the marketing and selling of opioids, including OxyContin. Examples of that include false or misleading advertising, exaggerating or misrepresenting the benefits or endorsements of a product or service, making false statements about the manufacture or origin of a product, passing off used products as new ones and price gouging.

"My office is holding Purdue Pharma accountable for fueling the nation's opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing prescription painkillers including OxyContin when it knew their drugs were potentially risky and that its use had a high likelihood of leading to addiction", Paxton said.

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The multistate group plans to continue settlement negotiations with other companies.

Other investigations remain ongoing, according to the AG's office.

Tennessee is joining four other states suing Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin and other drugs, for what the state calls "unlawful marketing and promotion" of the drugs.

- Falsely representing that Purdue's abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin reduces the risks of OxyContin, including the risk of addiction. Purdue Pharma alone faces more than a dozen lawsuits by states including Texas. The opioid epidemic exists in all counties in Nevada.

The potential payoff for states, counties and cities is vast. The cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio. The first trial consolidating three OH cases, is set to begin March 2019 and is considered to be a test with how other lawsuits may shake out.

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