Five states sue Purdue Pharma for driving opioid crisis

Fives US states have filed lawsuits against OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma for the company’s role in driving the opioid epidemic. They join some 1,600 other lawsuits brought against Purdue in recent years.

The suits were filed Thursday by the state governments of Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Maryland, who claim the company pushed the highly addictive drug using deceptive marketing. With the exception of Kansas, the states also sued former Purdue president Richard Sackler.

“This lawsuit reveals many years of painstaking investigation,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement, adding “the senseless death and ruined lives of untold thousands must stop,” and that Purdue “must be held accountable.”

Purdue, in March, reached a $270 million settlement to end a previous suit filed by the state of Oklahoma, which also accused the company of misleading marketing, yet another in a flurry of suits filed against the company.

Nearly 218,000 Americans have died from prescription opioid overdose between 1999 and 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Oxycodone, known by Purdue’s brand name ‘OxyContin’, was involved in a significant number of the deaths.