Lawsuit: Opioid maker considered move into anti-addiction drugs
As the nation’s opioid crisis was deepening, the company that makes a powerful prescription painkiller considered marketing an anti-addiction drug to “an attractive market” of people with addictions, according to allegations in court documents made public Thursday.
The attorney general’s office in Massachusetts is suing Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, along with some company executives and members of the family that owns it in an effort to hold them accountable for the toll of the drug crisis in the state.
On Thursday, the company lost a legal battle to keep some parts of the lawsuit confidential. The state made public for the first time a wholly unredacted version of the complaint it filed last year.
The newly public allegations portray Purdue as trying to profit off a crisis that it helped spark by having its sales force tell doctors that the prescription painkiller OxyContin had a low addiction risk.
The suit from Massachusetts is one of more than 1,000 by state and local governments pending against Purdue. A federal judge in Cleveland overseeing lawsuits filed in federal court is pushing for a settlement aimed at stemming the crisis.
Most of the lawsuits name multiple defendants in addition to Purdue, including other drug manufacturers, distributors or pharmacies. The Massachusetts case focuses solely Purdue and the family that runs it, the Sacklers.
It also is the first to make public many of the specific claims alleging that Purdue sought to profit from a crisis that has exploded since OxyContin came on the market more than 20 years ago.