Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Health Care | By Belinda Paul

Alabama sues Purdue Pharma

Alabama sues Purdue Pharma

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is accusing Purdue Pharma of illegally marketing and selling OxyContin and other opioid drugs.

Alabama has joined the growing list of states and cities suing the pharmaceutical industry over the country's opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit alleges the company violated a state law against deceptive marketing practices and created a drug-related public nuisance. Purdue alone faces 14 lawsuits by states including Alabama. "We've got to be able to make a difference in this issue nationally".

"We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution". During that period, 5,128 people died from overdoses.

The lawsuit is the latest in a massive wave of litigation against prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors; each of which is claiming that companies are responsible for the rising number of overdoses and deaths connected to painkillers.

Purdue Pharma denies allegations of complicity in the opioid epidemic and says it is committed to curbing rates of opioid abuse.

"As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge", Purdue said.

"The opioid epidemic has devastated Alabama families, leaving a trail of addiction and death winding through every community of this state", said Attorney General Marshall. "And when you're told something time and time and time again and there's a lot of advertising that is being spent, yeah, it takes a while to turn that around".

Increasingly, some attorneys general have made a decision to file lawsuits outside of the probe against the companies under scrutiny.

State and local lawmakers also hope to recover the financial costs of the crisis, echoing successful lawsuits against tobacco companies.

"Purdue knew, and has known for years, that, as except as a last resort, opioids were addictive and subject to abuse - particularly when used long-term for chronic pain". Alabama had more than 5.8 million opioid prescriptions written in 2015. OxyContin constitutes roughly 30 percent of the entire market for painkillers, according to Beasley Allen. "There is a direct connection between opioids and those particular illicit drugs".

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