US state attorneys general sue Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

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Six extra U.S. states on Tuesday introduced lawsuits in opposition to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, accusing the corporate of fueling a nationwide opioid epidemic by deceptively advertising its prescription painkillers to generate billions of in gross sales.

U.S. state attorneys common of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee additionally mentioned Purdue Pharma violated state client safety legal guidelines by falsely denying or downplaying the habit threat whereas overstating the advantages of opioids.

“It is time the defendants pay for the ache and the destruction they’ve brought about,” Florida State Legal professional Common Pam Bondi advised a press convention.

Florida additionally sued drugmakers Endo Prescription drugs, Allergan, items of Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mallinckrodt, in addition to drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Well being and McKesson.

The businesses didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the lawsuit.

Teva issued an announcement through which it emphasised the significance of safely utilizing opioids.

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance, an umbrella group for drug distributors, mentioned in an announcement that accusations that distributors have been chargeable for the abuse of opioid prescriptions defied frequent sense and lacked understanding of how the pharmaceutical provide chain labored.

“These bringing lawsuits can be higher served addressing the foundation causes, quite than attempting to redirect blame by litigation,” John Parker, the group’s senior vp, mentioned in an announcement.

Lawsuits have already been filed by 16 different U.S. states, Puerto Rico in opposition to the privately held firm. Purdue in February introduced a halt to its promotion of opioids to physicians after widespread criticism of the methods drugmakers market addictive painkillers.

Purdue, based mostly in Stamford, Connecticut, issued an announcement through which it denied the accusations and that its medicine have been authorised by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration and accounted for under 2 % of all opioid prescriptions.

“We’re upset that after months of excellent religion negotiations working towards a significant decision to assist these states handle the opioid disaster, this group of attorneys common have unilaterally determined to pursue a pricey and protracted litigation course of,” Purdue mentioned.

Opioids have been concerned in additional than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the final yr for which information was out there, in accordance with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Separate litigation involving a minimum of 433 lawsuits by U.S. cities and counties has been consolidated in a federal court docket in Cleveland, Ohio. The defendants embrace opioid producers Purdue Pharma LP, J&J, Teva, Endo Worldwide Plc and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Well being Inc and McKesson Corp.

The motion accused the drugmakers of deceptively advertising opioids and drug distributors of ignoring indications that the painkillers have been being diverted for improper makes use of.

The federal decide overseeing the consolidated litigation, U.S. District Choose Dan Polster, has been pushing for a world settlement and has invited state attorneys common with state court docket instances not earlier than him to take part in these talks.

Regardless of submitting separate lawsuits, the six attorneys common on Tuesday mentioned they’d proceed to interact in settlement discussions with Purdue and different firms.

“You all the time need to settle and stop a protracted litigation, however we’re sending a message that we’re absolutely ready to go to struggle,” Florida’s Bondi mentioned.

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