Tennessee attorney general sues opioid manufacturer for role in deadly epidemic

16 May, 2018, 07:55 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Texas, 5 other states sue Purdue Pharma, alleging deception that led to opioid overdose deaths

USA state attorneys general of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee also said Purdue Pharma violated state consumer protection laws by falsely denying or downplaying the addiction risk while overstating the benefits of opioids.

The state's original lawsuit, which was filed in Knox County Circuit Court previous year, alleges Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, as well as a 2007 settlement made with the state of Tennessee and, "created a statewide public nuisance by interfering with the health of Tennesseans and the commercial marketplace".

The Texas lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma of using a marketing campaign to convince doctors and consumers that their opioid drugs are effective for treating long term pain and have a low risk of addiction. The investigation obtained hundreds of thousands of documents from manufacturers and distributors of various opioid prescription medications.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue in a statement said it denied the allegations.

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Josephson added that Purdue announced in February it ended promotion of opioids to doctors and restructured and significantly reduced its commercial operation.

"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.

The lawsuit, filed by the attorney general's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the company, well known for its production of brand-name oxycodone prescription OxyContin, understated the risks associated with opioid use while it allegedly exaggerated the benefits, a news release from Laxalt's office 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.

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Last week, representatives of Russell, Smyth, and Wythe counties in Southwest Virginia announced they will file federal lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, but the names of the manufacturers weren't announced.

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

"We do not have adequate, available, affordable treatment in the state of North Dakota, wherever you look, big city and small, rural and urban", said Stenehjem.

National law firm Robins Kaplan filed the lawsuits on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, as well as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Menominee Indian Tribe.

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