LAS VEGAS – Six US states UU They sued opium manufacturer OxyContin on Tuesday for using deceptive marketing to boost sales of drugs that fueled deaths from opioid overdoses.
Drug maker Purdue minimized the risks and exaggerated the benefits of prolonged use of narcotic opioids, according to a civil lawsuit filed in Nevada state court in Las Vegas.
"Purdue's deception filled the pockets of its owners and caused the death and hospitalization of thousands of Nevadans," said Nevada State Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
Similar unfair and deceptive business lawsuits were filed in Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
In Tennessee, Attorney General Herbert Slatery alleged that Purdue violated a 2007 agreement with his state and "knew patients were dying of overdoses and their medications were being sold illegally to people who were not patients."
Purdue, based in Stamford, Connecticut, denied the allegations and said that d
The company's spokesman, Bob Josephson, said in an email that the trials followed months of negotiations with state officials to address the opioid crisis. He said the lawsuits indicated costly and lengthy litigation.
Slatery, who led an investigation of 40 opioid manufacturers and distributors, said that his state's complaint was filed in Knoxville under a temporary seal to protect the confidentiality of the information Purdue provided to investigators
. conversations with the company, said Leigh Ann Apple Jones, a spokeswoman for Slatery.
In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi added four other opioid manufacturers and four distributors to her state's complaint.  "We are in the midst of a national opiate crisis that claims 175 daily lives nationally and 15 lives daily in Florida," Bondi said in a statement. She accused Purdue Pharma of playing down the risk of addiction and exaggerating the effectiveness of physicians 'ability to manage patients' addiction.
In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton also alleged that the company misrepresented that there is no "maximum dose" of their opioid medications, and that physicians and patients could increase doses indefinitely without risk.
In North Carolina, state Attorney General Josh Stein accused Purdue Pharma of discrediting non-opioid analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen without scientific evidence.
The lawsuits occur about a month after a change of course by a federal judge in Cleveland who had been encouraging companies and states to resolve hundreds of lawsuits filed by local governments alleging the excessive use of opioid analgesics Prescribed
The judge has scheduled three trials in Ohio starting next year.  Purdue Pharma did not admit to committing any crime when it paid $ 19.5 million in 2007 to settle lawsuits in 26 states and the District of Columbia after being accused of aggressively marketing OxyContin to physicians while minimizing the risk of addiction. Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were part of that agreement. Florida and North Dakota no.