North Dakota sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma


North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said today he has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the nation’s leading manufacturer of prescription opioids such as OxyContin.

“I believe that credible evidence exists to conclude that Purdue knew the serious risks of long-term opioid use and minimized or ignored evidence that its product could be deadly,” Stenehjem said in prepared remarks.

Over a year ago, Stenehjem’s office, along with a coalition of other states, launched a multi-state investigation into various companies that the states were concerned were complicit in creating the opioid crisis in the country.

The multi-state investigation obtained hundreds of thousands of documents from the manufacturers and distributors of various opioid prescription medications.

In the course of the investigation, Stenehjem concluded that Purdue Pharma is in large part responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic.

In the suit, North Dakota alleges Purdue misrepresented and trivialized the risk of addiction from prolonged use of opioids, and reassured prescribers that signs of addiction were due to so-called “pseudoaddiction” and would cease once the patient’s pain was controlled.

“Today’s opioid crisis is inextricably linked to Purdue’s pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign. Purdue initiated the expansion of the opioid market that created the opioid crisis,” said Stenehjem.

North Dakota is seeking financial restitution, civil penalties and other costs associated with the lawsuit.

You can read and download the lawsuit here.

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