Massachusetts sues Pur­due, ex­ecs

The Beacon Herald - - BUSINESS - ALANNA DURKIN RICHER THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

BOS­TON — Massachusetts sued the maker of pre­scrip­tion opi­oid painkiller Oxy­Con­tin and its ex­ec­u­tives on Tues­day, ac­cus­ing the com­pany of spin­ning a “web of il­le­gal de­ceit” to fuel the deadly drug abuse crisis while boost­ing prof­its.

Pur­due Pharma is al­ready de­fend­ing law­suits from sev­eral states and lo­cal gov­ern­ments, but Massachusetts is the first state to per­son­ally name the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives in a com­plaint, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Maura Healey said. It names 16 cur­rent and for­mer ex­ec­u­tives and board mem­bers, in­clud­ing CEO Craig Lan­dau and mem­bers of the Sack­ler fam­ily, which owns Pur­due.

The law­suit al­leges Pur­due de­ceived pa­tients and doc­tors about the risks of opi­oids, pushed pre­scribers to keep pa­tients on the drugs longer and ag­gres­sively tar­geted vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions, such as the el­derly and vet­er­ans.

“Their strat­egy was sim­ple: The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more peo­ple died,” Healey said.

Pur­due, based in Stam­ford, Conn., didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment from The As­so­ci­ated Press, but told The Bos­ton Globe it “vig­or­ously” de­nies the al­le­ga­tions.

“We share the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s con­cern about the opi­oid crisis,” the com­pany told the news­pa­per in a state­ment.“We are dis­ap­pointed, how­ever, that in the midst of good faith ne­go­ti­a­tions with many states, the Com­mon­wealth has de­cided to pur­sue a costly and pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion process.

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