Details of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Tennessee taxpayers against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma have been made public despite a persistent effort by Purdue to keep the lawsuit under wraps.
According to Purdue’s own records, its executives and founders pushed its sales team to press Tennessee doctors to prescribe inappropriate dosages of Oxycontin on a long-term basis. The sales team, according to records, lied to doctors about the dangers of the drug.
For years, the sales team at Purdue made more than 100 calls to TN doctors even after the company promised the state to stop pushing the addictive drug.
Purdue’s records also reveal that the company created fake advocacy groups, and some of those groups targeted veterans and the elderly. The company’s leaders lied to the medical community about the dangers of the drug while creating a false narrative that Oxycontin caused “pseudo addictive” symptoms.
The lawsuit also reveals that Purdue targeted doctors who were among the biggest opioid prescribers in the state. Many of these doctors were paid in cash for the drugs, which should have been a red flag to Purdue that the prescriptions were likely being sold on the street.
Instead of cutting out these doctors, Purdue made dozens of sales calls to these physicians to push more sales. According to court documents, the sales calls sometimes wouldn’t stop until the doctors were in handcuffs or about to lose their medical licenses.
Purdue has denied these allegations and maintains that they helped identify doctors who made questionable prescriptions.
“The Attorney General claims Purdue acted improperly by communicating with prescribers about scientific and medical information that FDA has expressly considered and continues to approve,” the company said in a statement. “We believe it is inappropriate for the state to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts at FDA.”