LAS VEGAS – Six US states sued the OxyContin opioid on Tuesday for fraudulent marketing of drug sales that caused deaths from opioid overdose.
Pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma minimizes the risks and exaggerated benefits of long-term use of opioids, according to a civil lawsuit filed at the Nevada State Court in Las Vegas.
"Purdue's delusions lined the pockets of his owners and led to the death and hospitalization of thousands of Nevadans, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a statement.
Similar lawsuits were filed in Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas Laxalt adviser Monica Moazez said,
In Tennessee, Attorney General Herbert Slatery claimed that Purdue violated a 2007 settlement with his state, "knowing that patients would die of overdose and that their drugs are sold illegally to non-patients
Purdue, based in Stamford, Connecticut, denied the claims and said it would defend itself.
Company spokesman Bob Josephson said in an e-mail statement that the lawsuits were having months of negotiation State officials followed suit to tackle the opioid crisis, saying that the lawsuits were costly and lengthy legal disputes signaled.
Slatery, who led a 40-step investigation of opioid manufacturers and distributors, said his state complaint had been filed in Knoxville under temporary seal to protect the confidentiality of information provided by Purdue
Probing and discussions with the company are continuing, said Leigh Ann Apple Jones, spokeswoman for Slatery.
In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi added four more opioid manufacturers and four distributors to their state complaint.  "We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis that is claiming 175 lives a day and 15 lives a day in Florida," Bondi said in a statement. She accused the companies of "benefiting from the pain and suffering of the Floridians".
Laxalt in Nevada accused Purdue Pharma of downplaying serious risks of dependency and exaggerating the effectiveness of doctors' ability to control patient dependence.
In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that the company misrepresented that there was no "upper limit" on their opioid drugs, and that doctors and patients could increase doses without risk indefinitely.
The lawsuits come about a month after a change. of course, from a federal judge in Cleveland, who had encouraged corporations and states to settle hundreds of lawsuits by local governments over overuse of prescription opioid analgesics.
The judge has scheduled three trials in Ohio early next year.
Associated Press authors Paul Weber contributed to this report in Austin, Texas; Gary Robertson of Raleigh, North Carolina; Jonathan Mattise of Nashville, Tennessee; and Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida.
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