US state attorneys general sue Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

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Six extra U.S. states on Tuesday introduced lawsuits towards 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 basic of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee additionally stated Purdue Pharma violated state shopper safety legal guidelines by falsely denying or downplaying the habit danger whereas overstating the advantages of opioids.

“It is time the defendants pay for the ache and the destruction they’ve brought on,” Florida State Lawyer Normal Pam Bondi informed a press convention.

Florida additionally sued drugmakers Endo Prescription drugs, Allergan, models 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 during which it emphasised the significance of safely utilizing opioids.

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

“These bringing lawsuits could be higher served addressing the foundation causes, moderately than making an attempt to redirect blame by way of litigation,” John Parker, the group’s senior vice chairman, stated in an announcement.

Lawsuits have already been filed by 16 different U.S. states, Puerto Rico towards 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 during which it denied the accusations and that its medication had been accredited by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration and accounted for less than 2 p.c of all opioid prescriptions.

“We’re dissatisfied that after months of fine religion negotiations working towards a significant decision to assist these states deal with the opioid disaster, this group of attorneys basic have unilaterally determined to pursue a expensive and protracted litigation course of,” Purdue stated.

Opioids had been concerned in additional than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the final 12 months for which knowledge was out there, in accordance with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Separate litigation involving at the very least 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 had been being diverted for improper makes use of.

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

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

“You all the time wish to settle and stop a chronic litigation, however we’re sending a message that we’re totally ready to go to battle,” Florida’s Bondi stated.

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