Alabama sues OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic
(Reuters) – Alabama on Tuesday turned the newest state to file a lawsuit accusing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP of fueling the opioid epidemic by deceptively advertising prescription painkillers to generate billions of in gross sales.
Alabama Lawyer Normal Steve Marshall alleged in a lawsuit filed in a federal courtroom that Purdue misrepresented the dangers and advantages of opioids, enabling the widespread prescribing of the medicine for persistent ache situations.
The lawsuit mentioned that as Purdue reaped vital earnings, Alabama suffered vital prices because of a public well being disaster that had led to a whole bunch of deaths within the state every year as a consequence of opioid overdoses.
“It will take years to undo the damage but an important first step we must take is to hold the parties responsible for this epidemic legally liable for the destruction they have unleashed upon our citizens,” Marshall mentioned in an announcement.
Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue in an announcement mentioned it denied the allegations. It famous its medicine are accredited by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration and account for less than 2 p.c of all opioid prescriptions.
“As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge,” Purdue mentioned.
Opioids have been concerned in additional than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, in response to the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
A wave of lawsuits by states, counties and cities have accused drugmakers of pushing addictive painkillers by way of misleading advertising and wholesale distributors of failing to report suspicious drug orders.
A gaggle of state attorneys normal have been conducting a multistate investigation into whether or not corporations that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in illegal practices.
More and more, some attorneys normal have determined to file lawsuits exterior of the probe towards the businesses beneath scrutiny. Purdue alone faces 14 lawsuits by states together with Alabama.
A federal choose in Ohio overseeing greater than 200 lawsuits by cities, counties and others over the opioid epidemic just lately reached out to some state attorneys normal about assembly as he pushes for a fast settlement of the litigation.
Marshall was among the many attorneys normal who final Wednesday attended the primary court-ordered settlement convention overseen U.S. District Decide Dan Polster in Cleveland.
Marshall mentioned he now expects his lawsuit, filed in a federal courtroom in Alabama, will probably be transferred to Ohio to be overseen by Polster.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Enhancing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio