There have been no shortage of entities filing lawsuits related to the ongoing opioid epidemic: the City of San Francisco, several counties in West Virginia, the States of Florida and Ohio, and even the Cherokee Nation. And now you can add Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia, and Wisconsin to that list.
Those five states joined at least 39 others in litigation against Purdue Pharma, claiming the drug manufacturer illegally marketed and sold its opioids, escalating a nationwide epidemic of addiction, abuse, and overdoses.
"Purdue's marketing of OxyContin was like an octopus," according to the latest lawsuit. "It reaches into each different segment and level of the health care system and unfurled Purdue's false, misleading and deceptive messages about the claimed safety and benefits of OxyContin." The suit claims the drug company engaged in unfair, deceptive, and unlawful practices in the marketing of OxyContin.
"Purdue Pharma is responsible for a public health crisis that has profoundly affected patients, their families, our communities, and our health care system," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement. "The company and its executives were recklessly indifferent to the impact of their actions, despite ever-mounting evidence that their deceptions were resulting in an epidemic of addiction and death."
The latest filing also names former Purdue president Richard Sackler and his family, while other opioid lawsuits target drug distributors such as AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, and still others allege drug stores like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS failed to monitor prescriptions from their stores.
Opioid litigation, thus far, has been met with some mixed results. Oklahoma, for instance, reached a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in March. But a North Dakota judge rejected that state's argument that Purdue Pharma's conduct created a public nuisance, instead ruling that the company "cannot control how doctors prescribe its products and it certainly cannot control how individual patients use and respond to its products, regardless of any warning or instruction Purdue may give."
If you or a loved one has been over-prescribed OxyContin or another opioid, and developed an addiction or suffered an overdose, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your legal options.