May 23, 2018

Texas AG aims opioid lawsuit at Purdue Pharma

16 May 2018, 08:11 | Winifred Adams

Tennessee joins states suing Oxy Contin maker

Tennessee joins states suing Oxy Contin maker

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

In a press release, the attorney general's office said the sales of Purdue Pharma opioids are worth billions of dollars every year nationwide.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he believes credible evidence exists to conclude that Purdue Pharma knew the serious risks of long-term opioid use, and minimized or ignored evidence that its product could be deadly. Stenehjem also says the company promoted the drugs through a "pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign".

Justin Nelson, a Democrat who is challenging Paxton's re-election bid in November, said in an emailed statement that the announcement "is too little too late for so many Texas families suffering from the opioid crisis" and that "Paxton has sat idly by while drug companies have hiked up prices with no consequences".

Hundreds of similar lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers and distributors.

The lawsuit brought applause from people urging the state to take action on the opioid crisis.

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Representatives from Purdue Pharma did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment.

An order that was approved by Knox County Circuit Court Judge Kristi Davis on Tuesday allows the seal to expire in 10 days from the time Purdue is served with the suit, unless the company seeks a protective order during that time.

Gerard Stranch, the lead attorney representing the district attorneys, said Tuesday he thinks the state lawsuit will have a positive effect on the suits because it will "increase the pressure" on Purdue. Also, Nevada and the other litigating states continue to engage in ongoing settlement discussions with Purdue and other companies.

"Even though we have separate lawsuits we can work together for the same goal of trying to hold the folks that helped create this problem accountable", he said.

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

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