Texas, 5 other states suing opioid maker Purdue Pharma

In October, Upshur County - northwest of Longview in East Texas - sued opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, becoming the first county in the state to do so.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday Purdue sold its drugs knowing they were "potentially dangerous" and its use has "a high likelihood" of addiction. Purdue Pharma is one of the companies named in the lawsuit Hopkins County filed against opioid manufacturers.

In response to an interview request from the Observer, Purdue Pharma sent a statement that accuses the state of cutting off negotiations that could have led to a company partnership with Texas to fight the epidemic.

The state's original lawsuit, which was filed in Knox County Circuit Court previous year, alleges Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, as well as a 2007 settlement made with the state of Tennessee and, "created a statewide public nuisance by interfering with the health of Tennesseans and the commercial marketplace".

"When doctors expressed concerns about these unsafe and addictive drugs on their patients, Purdue tried to not only minimize those concerns but to encourage the doctors to prescribe them more", Stein said.

In September 2017, Paxton announced Texas was joining a bipartisan coalition of 40 other states and served investigative subpoenas on eight companies that manufacture or distribute addictive painkillers.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein claims that as concerns rose over opioid addiction, Purdue advanced the concept of "pseudo-addiction", telling doctors that patients were not really addicted to the drugs but simply needed more.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said the state "will not sit idly by as big corporations fuel the opioid epidemic and ignore the consequences of their actions". "The complaint I filed today seeks to hold some of the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and distributors responsible for their role in this crisis and seeks payment for the pain and destruction their actions have caused Florida and its citizens".

"Needless to say, our country is feeling a lot of pain in the hands of pain pills", Paxton said.

They join several other states and Indian tribes that have filed similar suits, seeking to recoup some of the money states have spent dealing with the resulting public health crisis. A settlement could mean billion dollar payouts.

New York State Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced on Wednesday, May 16, that the state is preparing to sue the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. The cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

  • Sylvester Abbott