New York State have sued OxyContin drug maker Purdue Pharma over allegations surrounding widespread fraud and deception in the marketing of opioids.
Officials blamed the privately held pharmaceutical company for its role in fuelling the opioid crisis which has killed tens of thousands across the United States in recent years.
Purdue Pharma, owned by members of the Anglo-American Sackler dynasty, was alleged to have misled doctors and patients as to the risks of the highly addictive opioid drugs. The state has accused the company of devastating communities in the pursuit of profit.
State Governor Andrew Cuomo commented that: “The opioid epidemic was manufactured by unscrupulous distributors who developed a $400 billion industry pumping human misery into our communities. This lawsuit sends a clear message to all those who mislead the public to increase their profit margins, that we will hold you accountable”
Purdue denied the allegations but said that they shared the states concern in regards to the opioid crisis. The company said in response that: “The state claims Purdue acted improperly by communicating with prescribers about scientific and medical information that FDA has expressly considered and continues to approve. We believe it is inappropriate for the state to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts at FDA.”
The state is seeking damages from the Connecticut-based company who according to Symphony Health Solutions sold $1.74 billion of OxyContin in 2017 alone.
State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who filed the lawsuit in Suffolk County said in a statement that: “Our investigation found a pattern of deception and reckless disregard for New Yorkers’ health and wellbeing — as Purdue lined its own pockets by deliberately exploiting our communities and fuelling an opioid epidemic that’s destroyed families across the state.”