North Dakota sues Big Pharma Purdue for possible role in opioid epidemic

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"My office is holding Purdue Pharma accountable for fueling the nation's opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing prescription painkillers including OxyContin when it knew their drugs were potentially unsafe and that its use had a high likelihood of leading to addiction", Attorney General Paxton said.

"My office is holding Purdue Pharma accountable for fueling the nation's opioid epidemic by deceptive marketing of its prescription opioid painkillers", Texas Attorney General ken Paxton said.

Starting past year, 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. Stenehjem also says the company promoted the drugs through a "pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign".

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a release that the company "repeatedly deceived prescribers and patients in pursuit of profits".

Nevada state Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt speaks at a news conference on a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Las Vegas.

In a statement sent to us, Purdue Pharma officials said they deny these allegations and look forward to presenting their defense.

Stenehjem estimates Purdue has raked in almost 35 billion dollars from opioids over the years that have taken thousands of lives, numbers he calls unconscionable.

The state alleges that Purdue made unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of long-term opioids treatment and falsely represented that opioid use improved patients' function and quality of life. If necessary, and depending on how the settlement discussions progress, North Dakota will amend its complaint to include additional manufacturers or bring separate suits against other manufacturers or distributors, according to Stenehjem.

National law firm Robins Kaplan filed the lawsuits on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, as well as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Menominee Indian Tribe.

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