Texas joins lawsuits against company accused of worsening opioid epidemic

Henrietta Strickland
May 16, 2018

In the course of the investigation, Stenehjem said he concluded that Purdue Pharma is in large part responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic.

Stenehjem says Purdue "misrepresented and trivialized" the risk of addiction from prolonged opioid use.

The Attorney General says filing a lawsuit is an important step in fighting addiction by going after the root of the problem. It noted its drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and account for only 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions.

The 61-page complaint also said the pharmaceutical company allegedly trained salespeople to downplay the risk of addiction, funded the research of field experts who led talks with health care professionals on opioid prescribing, told patients that long-term use would help them resume daily activities and distorted data on OxyContin's 12-hour efficacy. As the national death toll from opioid addiction rises, Texas is now suing a national drug manufacturer for aiding in the epidemic. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma. The death toll attributed to opioids in the US has quadrupled over the last two decades.

Starting a year ago, Paxton and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general have been conducting an investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices. Other, safer drugs, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, are effective and carry fewer risks, according to the CDC.

"Longview is actually in the top twenty-five for opioid abuse, and we're number seventeen", Coalition Coordinator for Longview Partners in Prevention Whitney Pierce said. Texas' Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force reported that "overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs" is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the state.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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