Attorneys general file suit against Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

At a press conference today, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office filed a consumer protection lawsuit in Travis County District Court against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) involving the company's prescription opioids, including OxyContin. A company spokesman added that the state lawsuits will bring costly and protracted litigation.

Nevada and five other states filed lawsuits accusing the pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing to boost drugs sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths.

Stenehjem says at least 251 people have died from opioid overdoses in North Dakota.

The suit alleges Purdue "misrepresented and trivialized the risk of addiction from "prolonged use" and "re-assured prescribers" that signs of addiction were due to so-called "pseudo-addiction" among other reasons".

The announcements follow lawsuits already filed by 16 other US states, Puerto Rico and New York City against the privately-held company. He says proceeds from the lawsuit should be devoted to opioid treatment programs.

In a statement sent to us, Purdue Pharma officials said they deny these allegations and look forward to presenting their defense.

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. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted in its 2016 guidelines that "there is no good evidence that opioids improve pain or function with long-term use".

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

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".

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.