New Hampshire sues OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma

New Hampshire sues OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma

The state of New Hampshire has filed suit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma for its alleged role in helping create the opioid epidemic afflicting the nation. New Hampshire, which President Donald Trump recently dubbed a “drug-infested den,” is number two in the country for opioid overdose deaths, just behind West Virginia. The state’s complaint, nearly 100 pages long, alleges that Purdue has spent the past 20-plus years and countless millions of dollars denying and downplaying the risk of addiction of its opioid painkillers, particularly OxyContin, and still hasn’t cleaned up its questionable marketing practices. “Purdue knew that its long-standing and ongoing misrepresentation of the risks and benefits of opioids were not supported by or were contrary to the scientific evidence,” the state attorneys said in the complaint. The New Hampshire suit follows similar lawsuits against Purdue and other drugmakers and drug distributors by numerous states, cities and counties, alleging the pharma companies all played key roles in bringing about the opioid crisis.

Many other suits

Cities and counties in California, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, and Oregon have all filed lawsuits, as well as the states of Mississippi, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Missouri – and now New Hampshire. Last April, the Cherokee Nation also sued opioid distributors over its drug crisis, the first such case brought in a tribal court. Back in 2007, Purdue was fined $634 million by the federal government for charges related to its “misbranding” of OxyContin. At that time, it was the largest fine ever levied against an American corporation. Purdue also reached a $19.5 million settlement with 26 states and the District of Columbia. New Hampshire wasn’t among those states that benefitted from the Purdue settlement. Most recently, in 2015, the drugmaker agreed to pay $24 million to resolve a lawsuit by the state of Kentucky. “To defeat the epidemic, we must stop creating new users, and part of that is making sure these highly addictive and dangerous drugs are marketed truthfully and without deception and in such a way as not to minimize addiction risks or overstate benefits to patients,” said Ann Rice, the state’s Deputy Attorney General. “New Hampshire continues to experience a severe opioid epidemic. Last year alone nearly 500 overdose deaths occurred - almost ten times more than in 2000.”

Purdue’s reply

Purdue provided a response to the New Hampshire lawsuit in a statement to the media: “While we vigorously deny the allegations, we share New Hampshire officials’ concerns about the opioid crisis, and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions. OxyContin accounts for less than 2 percent of the opioid analgesic prescription market nationally, but we are an industry leader in the development of abuse-deterrent technology, advocating for the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and supporting access to Naloxone — all important components for combating the opioid crisis.” The rash of litigation related to the opioid epidemic may not be over. According to a June report, some 20 state attorneys general have announced their own investigations into the roles played by pharmaceutical companies involved in opioid manufacturing and distribution. If you or someone you care for is experiencing dependence or addiction to opioids, or any drugs or alcohol, don’t wait until it’s too late. Do something about it now. Call Novus today.

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