Kentucky Files $1 Billion Lawsuit Against OxyContin Maker
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The state of Kentucky has filed a hefty lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and is holding the massive company responsible for the state’s overwhelming drug problem.
Purdue Pharma faces allegations of Medicaid fraud and false advertising along with nearly a dozen other claims, but prosecutors are focusing primarily on the company’s connection to the state’s drug epidemic. Prosecutors say the state of Kentucky, which has been riddled by overdoses, addiction-related deaths and drug-related crime, has suffered over $1 billion in damages and they want Purdue Pharma to pick up the tab.
Prosecutors say Purdue Pharma intentionally misled doctors to believe the OxyContin extended-released pills are difficult to abuse. But according to the company’s own research, simply crushing the pills transforms the drug into an abusable substance. But Purdue denies the charges and says that in fact, they’ve gone out of their way to keep OxyContin from being abused.
Purdue recently spent $643.5 million to conclude a lawsuit from the Justice Department, and the company’s defense lawyers say that battling another lawsuit so soon will set them at a disadvantage. “This is a billion-dollar case, a billion-dollar case,” said Purdue lawyer John Famularo. “And that disadvantage means Purdue would go to trial with its ‘arms tied behind its back.’”
But Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is determined to make Purdue pay, quite literally, for the alleged contribution to the state’s drug problem. “I want to hold them accountable in eastern Kentucky for what they did,” Conway said. “We have lost an entire generation. Half the pharmacies in Pike County have bulletproof glass. We had FedEx trucks being knocked off. It was the Wild West.”