WA sues one of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers over state epidemic

The state of Washington is suing one of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers over the epidemic in the Evergreen State.  

Attorney General Bob Ferguson Thursday filed a lawsuit accusing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma of fueling the epidemic in Washington by embarking on a massive deceptive marketing campaign.  The suit also accuses the company of convincing doctors and the public that their drugs are effective for treating chronic pain and have a low risk of addiction, despite evidence to the contrary.

Ferguson contends the deceptive marketing resulted in the deaths of Washingtonians and devastation to families.  Prescriptions and sales of opioids in Washington skyrocketed more than 500 percent between 1997 and 2011.  In 2011, at the peak of overall sales in Washington, more than 112 million daily doses of all prescription opioids were dispensed in the state.  More than 18 million daily doses of oxycodone were distributed in Washington in 2015.

The AG says that between 2009 and 2014, Washington saw a 60 percent increase in opioid-related hospital stays, the fourth-highest increase in the nation, according to a June study by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.  The state argues Purdue’s deception yielded the company billions of dollars in profit nationwide from its opioid drugs, and Ferguson’s lawsuit seeks to force Purdue to forfeit the Washington portion of those profits.

Lawsuits have also been filed by the cities of Seattle and Everett.  (Washington AG)

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