Massachusetts Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma, Saying It ‘Peddled Falsehoods’June 15, 2018
The state of Massachusetts is taking a new step in the fight against the opioid epidemic, filing a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma that also names the OxyContin maker’s executives. The suit alleges the company and 16 of its current and former directors misled doctors and patients about the risks of its opioid-based pain medications.
“Their strategy was simple: The more drugs they sold, the more money they made — and the more people died,” the state’s attorney general, Maura Healey, said at a news conference on Tuesday, flanked by Gov. Charlie Baker and law enforcement officials.
“We found that Purdue engaged in a multibillion-dollar enterprise to mislead us about their drugs,” she added. “Purdue pushed prescribers to give higher doses to keep patients on drugs for longer periods of time, without regard to the very real risks of addiction, overdose and death.”
Citing the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the complaint notes that more than 11,000 of the state’s residents have died of opioid-related overdoses in the past decade — nearly 2,000 of whom died last year alone. Of the deceased, the complaint says at least 671 people had filled prescriptions for Purdue’s opioid drugs.
“All the while,” Healey’s complaint adds, “Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives. Even when Purdue knew people were addicted and dying, Purdue treated the patients and their doctors as ‘targets’ to sell more drugs.”
The pharmaceutical company is denying the lawsuit’s allegations.