CBS Local — Alabama has joined the growing list of states and cities suing the pharmaceutical industry over the country’s opioid epidemic.
State officials are accusing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP of deceptive marketing practices which fueled the nationwide overdose crisis. Attorney General Steve Marshall claims that Purdue misrepresented the risks associated with prescription painkillers in order to turn greater profits.
“It will take years to undo the damage but an important first step we must take is to hold the parties responsible for this epidemic legally liable for the destruction they have unleashed upon our citizens,” Marshall said in a statement obtained by Reuters.
The Connecticut-based drugmaker denied the allegations and said that their products are approved for use by the FDA before being sold. “As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge,” Purdue officials added.
The lawsuit is the latest in a massive wave of litigation against prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors; each of which is claiming that companies are responsible for the rising number of overdoses and deaths connected to painkillers.
Over 300 lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies have been brought before federal judge Dan Polster in Ohio. In the hopes of reaching a settlement, Judge Polster issued a gag order on Feb. 6 which bans lawyers on both sides from discussing the details of a possible deal outside of court.
The Cleveland judge previously said that several levels of government have already “punted” on solving America’s opioid issue and he’s pushing both sides to do more than agree on a financial settlement. “What we’ve got to do is dramatically reduce the number of pills that are out there, and make sure that the pills that are out there are being used properly,” Polster said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.