Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

NY to sue OxyContin maker over opioid crisis

ND 5 other states suing opioid maker Click to Enlarge
Steve Townsend | 17 May, 2018, 00:29

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says Purdue Pharma "misrepresented and trivialized" the risk of addiction from prolonged opioid use.

The civil action, filed in Travis County, alleged that the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical giant sold the "highly addictive" opioids through "aggressive and deceptive marketing efforts" by misleading doctors and consumers into believing these narcotics had a low risk of addiction and that they successfully treated long term pain.

In a press release, acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the state is readying its litigation against the opioid manufacturer for "its alleged deception and reckless disregard for the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers".

NY and other states announced a nationwide investigation last summer into major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D.at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah.

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In its own statement, Purdue said the company "vigorously" denies the allegations and looks "forward to the opportunity to present our defense". Slatery said three Tennesseans die each day from opioid-related overdoses.

Laxalt says Nevada's per capita prescription rate for opioids was 87 out of 100 residents in 2016.

The rate of opioid prescription has tripled in the United State since the 1990s and 1 in 15 patients treated with narcotics for pain management in USA emergency rooms becomes chronically dependent, Dr. Nicholas Lee, an Austin anesthesiologist, said earlier Tuesday at a legislative hearing here on potential new laws to combat opioid abuse. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated more than 42,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2016 and they involved an opioid. First, they need to send a letter notifying the company the state is going to file a lawsuit, says chief criminal deputy Spencer Austin. The letter claims that the lawsuit falls under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Several more states are suing Purdue Pharma in federal court in Ohio.

In a statement to the media, Purdue noted that its products are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and accounted for only 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions.

A total of 22 states have now filed actions against one or more opioid drug markers, seeking financial compensation for states' law enforcement and drug treatment expenses. The first trial consolidating three OH cases is set to begin in March 2019 and is considered to be a test of how other lawsuits may shake out. Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were part of that agreement.

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