MA Attorney General Sues Purdue Pharma Over Opioid Crisis

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma Inc. over alleged claims that the company lied about opioid risks to increase profits.

More than 100 Americans die each day due to opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma Inc., a privately held company, its Purdue Pharma L.P. branch, and 16 current and former company executives and directors. Craig Landau, former chief executive, is among the 16 named executives and directors.

The lawsuit claims that the company was “misleading prescribers and consumers about the addiction and health risks of their opioids.”

Purdue Pharma manufactures prescription opioids like Butrans, OxyContin and Hysingla.

More than 70 million doses of opioids have been sold by Purdue Pharma in Massachusetts, and the company has generated more than $500 million since 2008, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multi-billion-dollar business based on deception and addiction,” said Healey in a statement. “The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people in Massachusetts suffered and died. These defendants must be held accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our state and claimed so many lives.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, restitution and penalties.

News of the lawsuit comes ahead of Purdue Pharma’s July 6 hearing to consider sealing portions of a lawsuit filed by the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that the company engaged in illegal marketing and sales of its OxyContin drug as well as other opioids.

Slatery wants the lawsuit to be unsealed.

More than a dozen states and Puerto Rico have filed lawsuits against the company, according to Reuters.

Purdue Pharma in February released a statement announcing that its sales representatives will stop marketing opioids to prescribers.