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Pennyslvania sues maker of OxyContin, 'jet fuel' of America's opioid crisis

Published: May 15, 2019
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Dr Jeffrey Bado received his first sales visit from a Purdue Pharma representative in September 2005. In the next five years, his prescriptions of OxyContin – the “jet fuel” of America’s opioid crisis, according to Pennsylvania’s attorney general – increased by 600%, as Purdue reps visited two to three times a week. Now, a lawsuit in the state seeks to hold the company accountable.

The lawsuit, filed 2 May by the state attorney general, Josh Shapiro, and announced on Tuesday, accuses Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut-based maker of OxyContin, of deceptive marketing and criminal negligence in pushing doctors to prescribe the opioid.

“We’ve lost lives, we’ve lost money and we’ve squandered opportunity,” said Shapiro in a press conference Tuesday. Meanwhile, opioids have been a “goldmine” for Purdue, which has made more than $35bn in revenue since OxyContin was released in 1996, he said. “While Purdue and its executives were profiting and lining their own pockets, they were leaving a path of loss, heartache and bills for someone else in Pennsylvania to pay,” he added.

Pennsylvania’s suit follows a wave of legal action against the pharmaceutical giant, and in some cases, certain members of the multibillionaire Sackler family, who own the company. More than three dozen states have sued Purdue for underplaying the risks of addiction, and a consolidation of 1,500-plus lawsuits filed by US cities and counties is currently playing out in a federal courthouse in Cleveland.

Pennsylvania’s lawsuit, however, is the first to allege in detail a prolific and calculated scheme of pushing drugs on prescribers – a ruthlessly profitable “marketing blitzkrieg” targeting doctors such as Bado, who was convicted of fraud and drug distribution felonies in 2016. According to the complaint, Pennsylvania, one of the hardest-hit states in the opioid crisis, received half a million sales visits by Purdue reps since 2007 – the highest of any state except California.


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A doctor who led the charge for mass prescribing of opioids in the US, and was then paid by Purdue Pharma to help drive sales of OxyContin, is to testify against the drugmaker and other companies facing a raft of lawsuits over America’s opioid epidemic.

The maker of OxyContin has reached a settlement with the state of Oklahoma over the prescription painkiller's role in the nation's deadly opioid crisis, officials said on Tuesday... Individuals familiar with the matter said that Purdue Pharma LP and members of the Sackler family who own the company reached a $270m settlement, Reuters reported. 

A group made up of more than 500 cities, counties and Native American tribes across the United States has filed a massive lawsuit accusing members of the Sackler family, who own the maker of the opioid painkiller OxyContin, of helping to create “the worst drug crisis in American history”.

Stamford-based Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which is facing thousands of lawsuits pertaining to its role in stoking the opioid epidemic that has been blamed for the surge in drug overdose deaths, is taking a page out of embattled Cali utility PG&E's book.

Employees at a drug company accused of bribing doctors rapped and danced around a person dressed as a bottle of the highly addictive fentanyl spray in a video meant to motivate sales reps to push the drug.

Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts.

A member of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma told people at the prescription opioid painkiller’s launch party in the 1990s that it would be “followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition,” according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Members of the multi-billionaire philanthropic Sackler family that owns the maker of prescription painkiller OxyContin are facing mass litigation and likely criminal investigation over the opioids crisis still ravaging America. Some of the Sacklers wholly own Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, the company that created and sells the legal narcotic OxyContin, a drug at the center of the opioid epidemic that now kills almost 200 people a day across the US.

A member of the family that owns Purdue Pharma — which is being sued by more than 1,000 jurisdictions for its alleged role in seeding the opioid crisis with its pain medication OxyContin — has been awarded a patent for a treatment for opioid use disorder.

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