Alabama files lawsuit against opioid manufacturer

February 6, 2018 by Kim Chandler

Alabama on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin and other opioids, becoming the latest state seeking to hold drug companies accountable for an addiction epidemic.

Alabama Attorney General Alabama Steve Marshall filed the lawsuit in Montgomery federal court against Purdue Pharma, L.P. and its branches. The lawsuit claims the manufacturer created a deceptive marketing campaign that misled patients about the benefits of the drugs and the risks of addiction.

"The opioid epidemic has devastated Alabama families, leaving a trail of addiction and death winding through every community of this state," Marshall said in a statement.

"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 he anticipates the lawsuit will eventually be transferred to Ohio where multi-district litigation is ongoing. The Alabama attorney general attended the start of settlement talks in that litigation last week.

At least 13 states have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.

Alabama ranks first in the nation in the number of painkiller prescriptions per capita. Alabama had more than 5.8 million opioid prescriptions written in 2015. That equates to a rate of 1.2 prescriptions per person, the highest rate in the country. By comparison, the national per capita was 0.71 in 2015.

Marshall's office estimated that 30,000 Alabamians over age 17 are dependent upon heroin and prescription painkillers.

John Puskar, director of public affairs for Purdue Pharma L.P., said the company vigorously denies the allegations in the state's lawsuit.

"We are deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and are dedicated to being part of the solution. As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge," Puskar said in a statement.

He said the company has distributed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, developed three of the first four FDA-approved opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and partnered with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses.

Explore further: South Carolina sues drug manufacturer over opioid crisis

Related Stories

South Carolina sues drug manufacturer over opioid crisis

August 15, 2017
South Carolina has become the latest state to accuse a drug manufacturer of exacerbating its opioid drug crisis by using deceptive marketing, with the state's top prosecutor suing the maker of OxyContin.

Philadelphia sues opioid makers in response to epidemic

January 17, 2018
Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit against drug companies that make prescription opioids, saying they've created "an unprecedented public health crisis."

New York hits big pharma with $500mn lawsuit in opioid crisis

January 23, 2018
New York turned the screws on pharmaceutical giants in America's opioid epidemic, suing manufacturers for $500 million on Tuesday as a photographer kickstarted a petition to hold Purdue Pharma accountable as a recovering ...

Ohio sues five drugmakers over role in opioid crisis

May 31, 2017
The US state of Ohio on Wednesday sued five major producers of prescription opioid medications, accusing them of lying about the deadly risks the painkillers—at the center of a nationwide addiction crisis—posed to public ...

3 Native American tribes sue opioid industry groups

January 9, 2018
Three Native American tribes in the Dakotas are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging they concealed and minimized the addiction risk of prescription drugs.

Washington state, Seattle are latest to sue opioid makers

September 28, 2017
Washington state and the city of Seattle on Thursday joined more than two dozen other government entities across the country suing to hold opioid makers accountable for an addiction crisis that has claimed thousands of lives.

Recommended for you

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

Less is more when it comes to prescription opioids for hospital patients, study finds

May 14, 2018
In a pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Yale researchers significantly reduced doses of opioid painkillers given to hospital patients. By delivering the opioids with a shot under the skin or with a pill instead ...

Generic options provide limited savings for expensive drugs

May 7, 2018
Generic drug options did not reduce prices paid for the cancer therapy imatinib (Gleevec), according to a Health Affairs study released today in its May issue.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.