Five more states filed lawsuits against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma Thursday, joining 39 states that have sued the company claiming that it illegally marketed opioids.
Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin are now suing Purdue Pharma and individuals connected to it, including former president Richard Sackler and other Sackler family members, reported Reuters.
Massachusetts is one of the states leading the charge after launching its high-profile suit against Purdue Pharma and members of the billionaire Sackler family, who own the company, in June. Pennsylvania also filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma Tuesday, reported NBC News. (RELATED: Largest Museum In The US Says No Thanks To Future Donations From OxyContin-linked Family)
The five states’ suits come after a North Dakota judge dismissed a suit against Purdue Pharma Friday.
“Purdue cannot control how doctors prescribe its products, and it certainly cannot control how individual patients use and respond to its products, regardless of any warning or instruction Purdue may give,” Judge James Hill wrote in his decision according to The Stamford Advocate.
North Dakota’s Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem plans to appeal the decision, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Purdue Pharma characterized the new lawsuits as “misleading attacks,” reported Reuters. The five states who announced actions Thursday have been jointly investigating Purdue Pharma’s alleged role in the opioid crisis since 2017, according to The WSJ.
“This is a bipartisan effort,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, said during a conference call according to Reuters.
Purdue Pharma has been accused of helping create the opioid crisis through the aggressive marketing of its products. Some analysts blame the way Purdue Pharma promoted OxyContin for the roughly 200,000 prescription opioid-related overdose deaths since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
News of the lawsuits comes just a day after The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Wednesday that it will stop accepting gifts from members of the Sackler family still associated with Purdue Pharma.
Other prescription opioid makers are starting to face lawsuits like the ones brought against Purdue Pharma. An Oklahoma suit against several drugmakers paints Johnson & Johnson as an opioid “kingpin,” according to media reports in mid-March.
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