In Opioid Lawsuit, Massachusetts Is First to Blame Drug Executives

June 14, 2018 AT 10:30 AM

State Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday that Massachusetts is suing Purdue Pharma on behalf of 670 Massachusetts residents who were prescribed OxyContin, became addicted to opioids, overdosed and died.

The 80-page complaint filed Tuesday in state court says the pharmaceutical company violated the state’s consumer protection law. Sixteen current and former Purdue directors and executives are also named in the lawsuit.

Healey says Purdue and its leaders misled doctors and patients when they called OxyContin “the gold standard” in pain relief, and that they dismissed warnings about patients getting addicted to the drug. Healey said Purdue targeted veterans, seniors and other vulnerable populations, and that the company’s actions fueled the opioid epidemic.

“Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multimillion-dollar business based on deception and addiction,” Healey said in a statement. “The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people in Massachusetts suffered and died.”

Healey’s allegations are not new. Hundreds of cities and countries are suing Purdue and other pain medication manufacturers and distributors in cases now consolidated in a Chicago court. Two dozen states have already filed complaints against Purdue. Healey said her case is the first state to name company leaders.

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