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USPennsylvania sues Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, says it targeted elderly and vets

23:15  14 may  2019
23:15  14 may  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

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The state of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma , claiming the Oxycontin maker fueled the state's deadly opioid epidemic through a deceptive marketing campaign that targeted the elderly and military veterans . "We are suing the giant, the pharma lord who created Oxycontin

The state of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma , claiming the Oxycontin maker fueled the state's deadly opioid epidemic through a deceptive marketing campaign that targeted the elderly and military veterans . "We are suing the giant, the pharma lord who created Oxycontin

Pennsylvania sues Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, says it targeted elderly and vets© Matt Rourke Image: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at a news conference in Harrisburg on Aug. 14, 2018.

The state of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, claiming the Oxycontin maker fueled the state's deadly opioid epidemic through a deceptive marketing campaign that targeted the elderly and military veterans.

"We are suing the giant, the pharma lord who created Oxycontin," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a Tuesday press conference.

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Alabama Targets OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma In Opioid Suit. Since mid-2007, when several Purdue executives pleaded guilty to misbranding OxyContin , the lawsuit says , " Purdue salespeople met with Massachusetts prescribers and pharmacists more than 150,000 times." (Emphasis theirs.)

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"Purdue owes it to the thousands of Pennsylvanians who lost their lives to [drug overdoses] to stop making excuses and instead to take responsibility for their actions," Shapiro added.

The suit adds to the more than 1,600 claims against Purdue. More than three dozen states have sued Purdue for allegedly aggressively marketing OxyContin while underplaying the drug's addictive qualities.

Pennsylvania is among the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. Roughly 5,390 Pennsylvanians suffered fatal drug overdoses in 2017 — more than any other state — and a majority of the deaths were caused by opioids, according to the 121-page lawsuit.

"Even when Purdue knew people were addicted and dying, Purdue treated patients and their doctors as 'targets' to sell more drugs," the suit says. "Tragically, each part of Purdue's campaign of deception earned the company more money, and caused more addiction and death."

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Purdue Pharma , based in Stamford, Conn., would file for bankruptcy under a tentative settlement. Thousands of municipal governments nationwide and nearly two dozen states that sued the In a statement, the company said , “ Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a

Veterans targeted , misled. Purdue used the American Pain Foundation to target veterans in Nashville and Memphis Purdue also targeted the elderly for the same reason, according to the lawsuit. OxyContin ’s product label says respiratory depression is “the chief hazard from oxycodone” and “is a

Shapiro claims in the suit that Purdue supervisors urged sales staff to "focus on the geriatric population." The company also set up a website called exitwoundsforveterans.org, which "deceptively assured veterans that Purdue's opioids are not addictive."

The lawsuit also chronicles numerous cases in which Purdue sales reps allegedly continued to push the drugs after becoming aware that doctors might be over-prescribing them. In one case, according to the suit, a doctor told a Purdue employee that "there is a big abuse problem for oxy(contin) and maybe the best thing for him would be if they took his license away."

In another case, a doctor told a Purdue representative that he was "fed up" with patients "us[ing] him for meds" and "felt his opioid prescribing was spiraling out of control," according to the lawsuit.

But Purdue continued to call on him for more sales until that doctor was arrested and charged with over-prescribing opiates, the lawsuit says. Nine of the doctor's patients died of drug overdoses between 2016 and 2018, authorities say.

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New York state on Tuesday sued Purdue Pharma LP, accusing the OxyContin maker of widespread fraud and deception in the marketing of opioids, and The state blamed Purdue for running what it called a reckless, decades-long scheme to mislead doctors and patients by overstating the ability of

The maker of OxyContin , Purdue Pharma , and its owners, the Sackler family, are offering to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits against the “The Sackler family built a multibillion-dollar drug empire based on addiction,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in May when his state joined others in

In a statement, Purdue denied the allegations in the suit and said it will "continue to defend itself against these misleading attacks."

"The complaint is part of a continuing effort to try these cases in the court of public opinion rather than the justice system," the statement said. "Such allegations demand clear evidence linking the conduct alleged to the harm described, but we believe the state fails to show such causation and offers little evidence to support its sweeping legal claims."

The lawsuit was announced two months after Purdue and its owners, the billionaire Sackler family, settled a case with Oklahoma for $270 million. The company settled with Kentucky for $24 million in 2015.

More than 1,000 lawsuits against Purdue have been consolidated in a case expected to go before a federal court judge in Ohio this fall.

The drugmaker has been exploring a possible bankruptcy and has vigorously denied the claims against it.

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