Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler have repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations in the various lawsuits against them, and all wrongdoing. "We cannot and will not tolerate companies that allegedly use false and misleading information to deceive medical personnel and patients.". “The company and its executives were recklessly indifferent to the impact of their actions, despite ever-mounting evidence that their deceptions were resulting in an epidemic of addiction and death.”, Purdue Pharma issued a statement on Thursday, saying: “Purdue Pharma vigorously denies the allegations in the lawsuits filed today and will continue to defend itself against these misleading attacks.”, The company pointed to the significant recent development in its favor that North Dakota’s state lawsuit against it was thrown out earlier this month, and noted that: “As the judge stated in his decision, one company cannot be held accountable for a complex public health issue such as the opioid crisis.”. "It made addicts out of people who otherwise weren't. How do I vote in my state in the 2020 election? "And may still. The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website: We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. OxyContin became so ubiquitous it was dubbed "hillbilly heroin." Kaul's suit named Purdue and Richard Sackler as defendants. Here is a breakdown of when each state sued the OxyContin maker for its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis. This content is currently not available in your region. You also agree to our Terms of Service. In June, the state of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the prescription painkiller OxyContin, alleging … California, Hawaii and Maine — as well as the District of Columbia — file lawsuits Monday against Purdue Pharma. A judge in North Dakota last week dismissed all of that state's claims against Purdue, perhaps the company's biggest court win in a round of litigation. By the time he got home in 2001, he was hooked. It is that same political poison that distracted government agencies from being prepared for real challenges like the one we are facing today. Families deserve to know what Purdue and its executives and directors knew, and what they did. In a May 2007 settlement of a Virginia criminal case, Purdue and three executives pleaded guilty to federal charges that they intentionally misled doctors, regulators and patients about OxyContin's addiction risk and potential for misuse. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. First published on May 16, 2019 / 2:05 PM. Ellis blames only himself for his addiction and says only God could free him from its grip. But Schimel was defeated in November by Democrat Josh Kaul, who campaigned on a platform that included filing opioid lawsuits. The looming trial could put pressure on Purdue and other companies to settle the cases - something the judge has said he wants to see. In a written ruling that the state says it will appeal, Judge James Hill questioned the idea of blaming a company that makes a legal product for the deaths. All Rights Reserved. Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler have repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations in the various lawsuits against them, and all wrongdoing. In a survey, their expert found that seven in 10 people agreed OxyContin has devastated local residents' lives. The plea deal could be unveiled within the next few weeks. Purdue appealed the decision and lost, then appealed again to the state Supreme Court, which hasn't yet ruled. The North Dakota attorney general is appealing against the decision. I write, consult and lecture on white collar crime situations, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain (Southern District of New York) encouraged. Fishman also acknowledged that overprescribing represented a challenge but that there had to be a balance to assure that people received the pain medication they needed. Combs' orders "confront Purdue with the risk of an immense and ruinous judgment," and damages sought "could produce a record-breaking verdict," lawyers wrote in court documents. Then people began to abuse the drug by crushing it into a powder, creating a powerful high that led many to addiction. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. Kaul alleges that Purdue and Richard Sackler were fully aware of the potential profits of OxyContin. It alleges that the corporate entities Purdue Pharma LP and Purdue Pharma Inc, and Sackler repeatedly made false and deceptive claims regarding opioids, including OxyContin. This started to explode in the mid-1990s, when Purdue Pharma was marketing OxyContin. States' suits are among the highest-profile claims in flood of litigation over the crisis. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. With more mail-in ballots, officials urge patience on election night, Americans and the right to vote: Why it's not easy for everyone, Why some mail-in ballots are rejected and how to make sure your vote counts. What is ballot harvesting — and should you hand your ballot to a stranger? At a time when government is touting that it is doing everything it can to help its citizens, it would be a shame if state attorneys general did not rise to the occasion to close the opioid crisis before moving on to more urgent needs. I established 500 Pearl Street as a strategic consulting firm for attorneys and their clients as an advisor on federal criminal cases. Right now, the government is looking for solutions to get money flowing into the hands of those people who need it, and a lot of people need it. See our, Read a limited number of articles each month, You consent to the use of cookies and tracking by us and third parties to provide you with personalized ads, Unlimited access to washingtonpost.com on any device, Unlimited access to all Washington Post apps, No on-site advertising or third-party ad tracking. The fight has now turned to the issue of "request for admissions," or what the plaintiff asks the defendant to admit — including allegations that Purdue caused OxyContin to be "excessively overprescribed.". Nebraska and Michigan are the only two states that haven't sued Purdue Pharma. In total, 48 states and the District of Columbia have sued Purdue Pharma. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey penned an OpEd in The Washington Post last year stating that individuals were not held accountable for the crisis. The federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy case of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma set a June 30 deadline to file claims against the company. All the while, Kentucky was drowning in a sea of prescription pills. Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland and West Virginia filed separate but similar lawsuits, bringing the number of states suing the pharmaceutical company to 45, over its alleged role in the US opioids crisis that has caused thousands of drug overdose deaths. When the federal government approved an abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin in 2010, many addicts turned to other opioids — mostly pills, but also heroin. More and more frequently, states and cities are filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers. Taken as directed, one pill every 12 hours, it provided a new type of pain relief that drastically reduced the “high” associated with other drugs, like morphine. "I don't even crave the drug anymore.". The states cannot link the conduct alleged to the harm described, and so they have invented stunningly over-broad legal theories, which if adopted by courts, will undermine the bedrock legal principle of causation.”, Available for everyone, funded by readers. However, a few state attorneys general have stepped in the way of allowing the bankruptcy settlement, demanding more money, particular from the Sackler family, heirs to the Purdue fortune. Wisconsin’s lawsuit, filed in Dane county circuit court, seeks a permanent injunction, abatement of the public nuisance, and civil penalties. Brad Ellis, 37, of Louisa, Ky., says he was first prescribed OxyContin after a back injury while in the Army. Clearly, it was abused. ... where the county and state had sued Purdue Pharma. Maryland named other members of the Sackler family in its administrative action. On Thursday, in response to the latest flurry of lawsuits, Purdue added: “These complaints are part of a continuing effort to try these cases in the court of public opinion rather than the justice system. States say most users, though, start with prescription pills, whether they're prescribed to them or diverted. Five more US states sued the painkiller maker Purdue Pharma on Thursday, alleging misconduct in the marketing and sales of opioids such as the company’s highly profitable OxyContin narcotic. Purdue and Teva were also named in the lawsuit, but they settled before the trial began: Purdue for $270 million, meant to go toward addiction treatment programs, and … And nowhere is the pill problem more prevalent than in Kentucky's Appalachians, where officials trace its roots to the aggressive marketing of one potent drug: OxyContin. ", Cheffo, the Purdue lawyer, disputed that in a phone interview Tuesday. Basically, the American people will become owners of the manufacturing facilities producing OxyContin, a drug that is still effectively taken for pain management, approved by the Food and Drug Administration and regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency. "God's what pulled me up," he says. "The states cannot link the conduct alleged to the harm described, and so they have invented stunningly overbroad legal theories, which if adopted by courts, will undermine the bedrock legal principle of causation," the company said. Lastly, it calls for the Sackler family to contribute a minimum of $3 billion, with the potential for substantial further monetary contributions from the sales of their non-U.S. pharmaceutical businesses. Six years after Fishman’s paper, medical professionals still said there was a demand for pain management to address acute pain after surgery or trauma, chronic pain associated with an aging population and those facing terminal disease such as late stage cancers.