Texas sues the maker of OxyContin over the opioid epidemic

Purdue Pharma

In the complaint with Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, North Dakota alleges that Purdue misrepresented and trivialized the risk of addiction from prolonged use of opioids and reassured prescribers that signs of addiction were due to so-called "pseudoaddiction" and would cease once the patient's pain was controlled.

The suit was filed in Travis County District Court and alleges deceptive trade practices allegations. He said the filing by these attorneys general promises costly and protracted litigation. Main culprits in the public health crisis include prescription painkillers such as Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, the synthetic drug fentanyl and heroin.

USA state attorneys general of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee also said Purdue Pharma violated state consumer protection laws by falsely denying or downplaying the addiction risk while overstating the benefits of opioids. "I believe that credible evidence exists to conclude that Purdue knew the serious risks of long-term opioid use and minimized or ignored evidence that its product could be deadly", Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said of one of the nation's leading manufacturer of prescription opioids, including OxyContin.

He said the state is still investigating other pharmaceutical companies and distributors.

The 270-page complaint outlines the state's argument, which accuses the company of causing the "most devastating public health crisis in Tennessee history" by making unlawful and misleading claims about the safety and benefits of drugs like OxyContin.

- Falsely representing that Purdue's abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin reduces the risks of OxyContin, including the risk of addiction.

"Today, I filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma". Legal experts have said the wave of opioid-related lawsuits is on par with the tobacco company settlements states received in the 1990s, when Texas made out with a $15 billion settlement. Those lawsuits are also vying for drug companies and distributors to reimburse counties and cities for their costs to treat opioid problems including treatment, lost productivity, emergency room costs and more.

Paxton did not say how much money the state was pursuing but according to the news release his office "seeks significant penalties" from Purdue. The cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

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