Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Lawsuit says drug company trivialized addiction risk

Lawsuit says drug company trivialized addiction risk

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is bringing the state into a series of lawsuits against a pharmacy company accused of worsening the opioid epidemic. The state's lawsuit was filed in Knox County Circuit Court.

North Dakota and five other states are filing a lawsuit against a drug maker for overdose deaths.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, left, stands next to Rep. Eric Bedingfield, whose son died past year of a drug overdose, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, at his offices in Columbia, S.C. Wilson on Tuesday announced the state had sued Purdue Pharma, accusing the maker of OxyContin and other opioid drugs of violating South Carolina's Unfair Trade Practices Act. Nationwide, there were 42,249 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas.

Laxalt says while Nevada has only filed against Purdue, it is continuing to investigate other opioid manufacturers and distributors with the larger opioids multistate group.

The lawsuit also claimed that Purdue targeted vulnerable populations, including veterans and senior citizens.

Other investigations remain ongoing, according to the AG's office.

The Texas lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma of using a marketing campaign to convince doctors and consumers that their opioid drugs are effective for treating long term pain and have a low risk of addiction.

The state alleges that Purdue made unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of long-term opioids treatment and falsely represented that opioid use improved patients' function and quality of life.

Last October, President Trump officially declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, noting that two million Americans suffer from addiction to prescription or illicit painkillers. A new question on the list is regarding opioid abuse.

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