Massachusetts has sued Purdue Pharma, the maker of an extremely potent painkiller called OxyContin, along with the company’s executives, accusing them of being behind a “web of illegal deceit” that fueled the state’s drug abuse crisis.
It is not the first time a state sues the drug maker, but Massachusetts is the first state to file a complaint against the company’s executives as well. The lawsuit names more than a dozen board members and executives, some of whom are no longer working for the company. The defendants include members of the family that owns the company, the Sackler family, and Purdue’s chief executive Craig Landau.
Authorities claim that the drug maker kept the risk of opioids hidden from doctors and their patients, incentivized doctors to keep patients on prescription drugs unnecessarily, and marketed aggressively the highly addictive painkillers to vulnerable demographic groups, like military vets and seniors.
Their strategy was simple: The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people died,
State Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday.
The Company Denies the Allegations
The Stamford, Connecticut-based company has yet to reply to a request for comment. The Boston Globe reported that Purdue will “vigorously” fight the allegations in court even though it “shares” the AG’s concerns about the drug abuse crisis.
- The pharmaceutical company added that it is “disappointed” with the costly and protracted lawsuit in Massachusetts.
- Purdue underlined that other states have agreed to enter into “good faith negotiations.”
- It also promised to work with other states to find “meaningful solutions.”
In 2007, the drug maker shelled out $19.5 million in a settlement with 26 U.S. states, but it refused to admit wrongdoing. The states, which included Massachusetts, had accused Purdue of downplaying OxyContin’s addictive nature while convincing doctors to prescribe more of the painkiller to their patients.
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