Purdue Pharma hid addiction risk of OxyContin, New York lawsuit alleges

by Jim Orr

Purdue Pharma new about the risk of addiction associated with the opioid painkiller OxyContin years before disclosing these dangers to the public, a New York lawsuit alleges. Purdue is facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of county governments in New York alleging that Purdue continued to promote OxyContin in spite of its knowledge that the drug was being routinely abused by patients, putting them at risk of addiction, overdose, and other side effects.

OxyContin is the brand name version of the drug oxycodone. The drug went on the market in 1996, and was touted by Purdue Pharma as a non-addictive treatment for patients with pain problems. Purdue agreed to stop promoting OxyContin in February 2018 after acknowledge the risk of addiction that are associated with the powerful opioid painkiller.

According to the New York lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, sales representatives and officials at the drugmaker were well-aware of the addictive properties of OxyContin years before publicly acknowledging these dangers. In 1999, many executives at the company had allegedly been informed by sales representatives that OxyContin was being routinely abused by patients. That same year, a secretary with Purdue began visiting internet chat rooms where OxyContin was discussed. The secretary forwarded numerous screenshots to a top lawyer at the company involving discussions about how to crush, snort, or cook OxyContin in order to increase the high from the drug. The secretary also drafted a memo about the widespread abuse of OxyContin that was sent to top officials at the company.

The New York OxyContin lawsuit names members of the Sackler family – which has controlled Purdue for decades – in addition to the company. Although state and local governments across the U.S. have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma over its role in the nationwide opioid epidemic, few of these lawsuits have named the Sacklers as defendants.

The New York lawsuit is not the first time that Purdue has faced legal scrutiny over its marketing of OxyContin. In 2007, the company admitted to “misbranding” OxyContin by failing to disclose the risk of addiction associated with the drug. Purdue was forced to pay more than $630 million in government fines, including $34 million in criminal penalties against the company’s executives.

Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Opioid Overdose Victims

Purdue Pharma’s aggressive marketing of OoxyContin played an important role in the escalation of the U.S. opioid epidemic. According to the CDC, tens of thousands of Americans die every year as a result of overdoses involving prescription painkillers.

If you have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose, the drug’s manufacturer, the doctor or hospital that prescribed it, or the pharmacy that filled the prescription may be liable. For more information about filing a lawsuit involving prescription painkillers, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson has handled more cases involving the powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl than all other law firms in the U.S. combined. Our attorneys have also filed many cases involving other opioid painkillers, including morphine, methadone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

For more information about filing an opioids lawsuit and to receive a free consultation from an attorney, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following this link to our free case evaluation form.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.