Tennessee, 5 other states suing opioid maker Purdue Pharma

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.

"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.

More than a year ago, Stenehjem's office, together with a coalition of other states, launched an investigation that obtained hundreds of thousands of documents from the manufacturers and distributors of various opioid prescription medications.

Slatery III, along with a bipartisan group of Attorneys General, sued Purdue Pharma today for its unlawful marketing and promotion of OxyContin and other drugs and its role in causing and prolonging the opioid epidemic in Tennessee.

Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, claiming that opioids were a safe and effective medical solution to long term chronic pain, Stenehjem said. "Purdue initiated the expansion of the opioid market that created the opioid crisis", Stenehjem said.

The 61-page complaint also said the pharmaceutical company allegedly trained salespeople to downplay the risk of addiction, funded the research of field experts who led talks with health care professionals on opioid prescribing, told patients that long-term use would help them resume daily activities and distorted data on OxyContin's 12-hour efficacy. He says proceeds from the lawsuit should be devoted to opioid treatment programs.

The opioid manufacturer encouraged escalating doses of opioids and said OxyContin had no upper limit in the amount that could be prescribed, he added.

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

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control, at least 251 people in North Dakota have died from opioid overdoses.

Earlier this month, four out of five North Dakota tribal nations have filed lawsuits against 24 opioid manufacturers and distributors that allege devastating public health effects from the opioid epidemic and seek monetary damages. The cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

  • Santos West