Virginia Becomes Latest State To Sue Purdue Pharma Over ‘Lies’ On Opioid Painkillers

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The maker of the popular painkiller OxyContin is facing another state lawsuit over its alleged role in sparking the national opioid epidemic.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring moved to sue Connecticut-based drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma Wednesday, accusing the company of using dishonest marketing practices to maximize sales of its painkiller, reported WJLA.

By downplaying the addictive risks of OxyContin to the medical community, the company directly violated Virginia’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Herring said. (RELATED: Opioid Activist Drops 800-Pound Heroin Spoon In Front Of Purdue Pharma’s HQ)

“For decades, Purdue Pharma amassed a fortune and built an empire on suffering and lies,” said Herring, according to WJLA.

The company has previously denied any claims of wrongdoing and said it is committed to working with the government to solve the opioid epidemic.

Purdue Pharma, which ended its marketing practice of promoting painkillers to health care professionals in February, previously pleaded guilty in 2007 to felony charges for false marketing of OxyContin and paid $635 million as a result.

“We share the Attorney General’s concern about the opioid crisis,” said a spokesman for Purdue Pharma, according to WJLA. “We are disappointed, however, that in the midst of good faith negotiations with many states, the Commonwealth has decided to pursue a costly and protracted litigation process.”

Purdue Pharma is owned by the Sackler family, listed at 19th on the annual Forbes list of wealthiest families in the country at a worth of $13 billion. The family’s fortune largely comes from OxyContin sales, which its company branded and introduced as an extended-release painkiller in 1995.

Purdue Pharma is facing 24 lawsuits filed by state attorneys general and more than 400 lawsuits from cities and counties across the country.

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