Washington state sues Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

Washington state sues Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

The state of Washington sued Purdue Pharma in King County Superior Court [official websites] on Thursday alleging the pharmaceutical company is responsible for the opioid epidemic growth.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit [complaint, PDF], alleging Purdue and other pharmaceutical corporations used deceptive advertising to increase opioid prescription sales. The lawsuit accuses Purdue of using such deceptive tactics for two decades, including acts deceiving Oxycontin’s addictiveness, consumer’s ability to manage addiction and abuse risks, and claims that Oxycontin improves function.

The defendants are accused of violating the Consumer Protection Act, creating a public nuisance and acting negligently, thereby contributing to the opioid crisis in Washington, which has led to 700 deaths since 2006.

This is not the first lawsuit Washington filed against Purdue for alleged deceptive marketing tactics. In 2007 Washington and 25 other states filed a lawsuit against Purdue which ended with a court order [Seattle Times report] prohibiting “Purdue from understating risks of abuse and addiction, and also required the company to take action when it became aware of overprescribing ‘pill mills.'”

The current lawsuit makes Washington the tenth state to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.