Health Care

States Sue Purdue Over Alleged Deceptive Opioid Marketing

States Sue Purdue Over Alleged Deceptive Opioid Marketing

A company spokesman added that the state lawsuits will bring costly and protracted litigation.

The Nevada A.G.'s office announced the filing of a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and its smaller affiliate companies after a two-year investigation revealed the company - which manufactures popular drugs OxyContin and Butrans among othern opioids - trained sales representatives to overstate to Nevada doctors the drugs' effectiveness in long-term pain relief to generate more sales of the drugs, Laxalt said.

The action accused the drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids and drug distributors of ignoring indications that the painkillers were being diverted for improper uses. "Three Tennesseans are dying each day from opioid-related overdoses, and we are committed to the hard work that needs to be done to address this tragedy".

"Today's lawsuit is another step on the path toward justice for victims of this epidemic", Laxalt said.

Stenehjem says because the company could be liable for up to $5,000 per violation, the potential damages are "enormous".

Similar lawsuits were expected in Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee. "Purdue crossed the line, and I intend to hold them accountable".

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The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Stenehjem estimates Purdue has raked in almost 35 billion dollars from opioids over the years that have taken thousands of lives, numbers he calls unconscionable.

Paxton did not say how much money the state was pursuing but, according to a news release, his office "seeks significant penalties" from Purdue.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, in a statement, denied the accusations, saying its drugs were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and accounted for only 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions. "Purdue targeted vulnerable patient populations, such as the elderly and veterans, while refusing to recognize the increased risk associated with opioid use in these patient populations".

Last year, Shelby County Commissioners filed a lawsuit against almost 20 different drug manufacturers, doctors and pharmacies.