NY State Sues OxyContin's Maker

"Our investigation found a pattern of deception and reckless disregard for New Yorkers' health and well-being as Purdue lined its own pockets by deliberately exploiting our communities and fueling an opioid epidemic that's destroyed families across the state," Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said Aug. 14.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state's attorney general, Barbara D. Underwood, on Aug. 14 announced a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Purdue Frederick Company, Inc. The suite alleges a decades-long and continuing pattern of persistent deceptive and illegal conduct to mislead prescribers and patients about the risks of the defendants' opioids, including OxyContin, and intentionally understating the risks and overstating the benefits of those drugs.

The complaint alleges Purdue persistently made misrepresentations about its products, including concealing the link between long-term use of opioids and abuse and addiction, masking the signs of addiction by referring to them as "pseudoaddiction," falsely claiming that withdrawal from its products can be easily managed, overstating the risks of alternative pain relief therapies versus opioids, and misrepresenting the extent to which opioids improve body function.

"The opioid epidemic was manufactured by unscrupulous distributors who developed a $400 billion industry pumping human misery into our communities. In this year's State of the State, I pledged that we will hold these companies responsible for their reprehensible actions," Cuomo said. "This lawsuit sends a clear message all these who mislead the public to increase their profit margins that we will hold you accountable for your actions."

"Our investigation found a pattern of deception and reckless disregard for New Yorkers' health and well-being as Purdue lined its own pockets by deliberately exploiting our communities and fueling an opioid epidemic that's destroyed families across the state," Underwood said. "We're now holding Purdue to account for this reprehensible and illegal conduct. Our work won't stop with this lawsuit: Our office will continue to lead the multi-state investigation of opioid manufacturers and distributors across the country."

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