Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit today against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma Inc., Purdue Pharma, L.P., and The Purdue Frederick Company (collectively “Purdue Pharma”). Purdue Pharma’s opioid products include the drug OxyContin. The lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma’s conduct in misrepresenting the risks and benefits of opioids played a key role in the opioid crisis in Indiana.
“Following my office’s thorough investigation of this company’s activity in Indiana, this lawsuit demands Purdue Pharma answer for its violations of Indiana law,” Attorney General Hill said. “This litigation is one additional tool in the state’s arsenal to combat the opioid crisis. My office is committed to holding companies that engage in unfair, abusive, and deceptive practices in Indiana accountable for their misconduct. The lawsuit against Purdue Pharma is the culmination of nearly two years of exhaustive investigation, depositions of former employees, interviews of prescribers across the state, and thorough review of company documents.”
The allegations against Purdue Pharma depict the lengths to which the company sought to increase profits by promoting its opioids in Indiana, including by:
- minimizing or denying the risk of addiction;
- exaggerating the benefits of the use of opioids for treatment of chronic pain;
- denying or failing to disclose the increased dangers of opioids at higher doses;
- targeting elderly and opioid-naïve patients to create a new market of long-term customers;
- spreading the above misrepresentations to Indiana’s medical community and to consumers; and
- engaging in an elaborate deception by enlisting what appeared to be independent entities carrying neutral information that were actually paid, funded or otherwise controlled by Purdue to publicize statements known to be unsupported by facts or scientific research.
The lawsuit, filed in Marion County on behalf of the State of Indiana, alleges that Purdue violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; the Prescription Drug Discount and Benefit Cards Statute; the False Claims Act; and the Medicaid False Claims Act. The complaint seeks maximum penalties, treble damages, costs and an order directing Purdue Pharma to stop its unlawful conduct.
The state is aided in its lawsuit by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Zimmerman Reed LLP.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can locate treatment providers in Indiana by calling 211 or 1-800-682-HELP (4357).