Alabama files lawsuit against opioid manufacturer

Alabama on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin and other opioids, becoming the latest state seeking to hold drug companies accountable for an addiction epidemic.

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 3:08 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin and other opioids, becoming the latest state seeking to hold drug companies accountable for an addiction epidemic.

Alabama Attorney General Alabama Steve Marshall filed the lawsuit in Montgomery federal court against Purdue Pharma, L.P. and its branches. The lawsuit claims the manufacturer created a deceptive marketing campaign that misled patients about the benefits of the drugs and the risks of addiction.

"The opioid epidemic has devastated Alabama families, leaving a trail of addiction and death winding through every community of this state," Marshall said in a statement.

"It will take years to undo the damage but an important first step we must take is to hold the parties responsible for this epidemic legally liable for the destruction they have unleashed upon our citizens."

Marshall said he anticipates the lawsuit will eventually be transferred to Ohio where multi-district litigation is ongoing. The Alabama attorney general attended the start of settlement talks in that litigation last week.

At least 13 states have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.

Alabama ranks first in the nation in the number of painkiller prescriptions per capita. Alabama had more than 5.8 million opioid prescriptions written in 2015. That equates to a rate of 1.2 prescriptions per person, the highest rate in the country. By comparison, the national per capita was 0.71 in 2015.

Marshall's office estimated that 30,000 Alabamians over age 17 are dependent upon heroin and prescription painkillers.

John Puskar, director of public affairs for Purdue Pharma L.P., said the company vigorously denies the allegations in the state's lawsuit.

"We are deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and are dedicated to being part of the solution. As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge," Puskar said in a statement.

He said the company has distributed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, developed three of the first four FDA-approved opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and partnered with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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