Maker of OxyCon­tin hit with an­other state suit

AG Shapiro doesn’t rule out fu­ture ac­tion against Purdue Pharma.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY GEOFF MULVIHILL

PHILADEL­PHIA — The com­pany that makes OxyCon­tin did not stop pitch­ing the pow­er­ful opi­oid painkiller to doc­tors even when its sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives raised con­cerns that they were pre­scrib­ing the drug in­ap­pro­pri­ately, the Penn­syl­va­nia at­tor­ney general’s of­fice said in a law­suit an­nounced Tues­day.

The law­suit against Con­necti­cut-based Purdue Pharma was filed on May 2 un­der seal and an­nounced on Tues­day. It made Penn­syl­va­nia at least the 39th state to sue the com­pany seek­ing to hold it re­spon­si­ble for the toll of opioids, which have been killing more peo­ple in the U.S. and Penn­syl­va­nia each year than car crashes.

The suit says Purdue drug rep­re­sen­ta­tives have made 531,000 de­tail­ing calls on doc­tors in the state since 2007, when the com­pany set­tled with Penn­syl­va­nia and 25 other states agree­ing to stop iden­ti­fy­ing il­le­gal di­ver­sion

of its OxyCon­tin and to pro­mote it only for fed­er­ally ap­proved uses.

Only Cal­i­for­nia doc­tors heard from the com­pany more, the state says.

The suit names sev­eral doc­tors whom the state says the com­pany con­tin­ued to call on to pro­mote opioids de­spite signs that they were pre­scrib­ing to ad­dicts or wor­ry­ing phar­ma­cies with their pre­scrib­ing lev­els. The com­plaint sin­gled out one — Philadel­phia doc­tor Jef­frey Bado — as one of the na­tion’s big­gest pre­scribers of opioids. The doc­tor lost his li­cense in 2013 and was con­victed in 2016 crimes in­clud­ing caus­ing the death of a pa­tient.

The state says the com­pany stopped call­ing on Bado at points be­cause of con­cerns over his pre­scrib­ing prac­tices but kept re­turn­ing again to pro­mote the drugs.

Purdue said the com­pany de­nies the al­le­ga­tions. “The com­plaint is part of a con­tin­u­ing ef­fort to try these cases in the court of pub­lic opin­ion rather than the jus­tice sys­tem,” Purdue spokesman Robert Joseph­son said in a writ­ten state­ment.

At­tor­ney General Josh Shapiro did not rule out fu­ture le­gal ac­tions against Purdue sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ex­ec­u­tives.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.