May 30, 2019

New Jersey's attorney general on Thursday slapped Purdue Pharma LP’s controlling family with a suit over its alleged role in the opioid crisis, adding New Jersey to the list of 46 other states that have sued the family.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed the 205-page complaint in New Jersey Superior Court for Essex County. The suit echoes allegations in the mountain of litigation that eight members of the family are already facing amid the opioid crisis, which Grewal and other litigants claim was fueled by an aggressive sales strategy and deceptive promotion.

The lawsuit accuses the family of three counts of violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and one count of violating the state’s False Claims Act. Grewal is seeking monetary damages, statutory penalties, disgorgement and other relief to go toward the state’s “costly solutions” to the crisis, according to the suit.

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Grewal’s complaint claims the Sacklers deceived doctors and other caregivers with prescribing authority by downplaying the risks and talking up the benefits of OxyContin and other opioid pain medications made and sold by the family. The alleged deception was part of a scheme to change public and medical perception of the drug to encourage more widespread use, all so the family could rake in billions, Grewal argues.

The suit names Purdue CEO and President Richard S. Sackler as well as Jonathan D. Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Beverly Sackler, Theresa Sackler and David A. Sackler.

Purdue’s annual revenues are estimated at $3 billion, according to a statement from Grewal’s office. Since the company debuted OxyContin in 1996, Purdue has generated overall sales of more than $35 billion, his office said.

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New Jersey is represented by Patricia Schiripo and Jesse J. Sierant of the Attorney General’s office and Betsy A. Miller, Victoria S. Nugent and Brian E. Bowcut of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

The complete article can be accessed here.