Stamford-based Purdue Pharma is on the receiving end of two new lawsuits – one from a neighboring state and another from a quartet of Connecticut cities.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court against Purdue Pharma Inc., Purdue Pharma LP, and 16 current and former executives and directors, accusing them of intentionally misleading doctors, pharmacists and consumers about the health and addiction risks of their opioids, including OxyContin. Healey charged Purdue Pharma with contributing to the opioid epidemic, which resulted in the deaths of more than 670 Massachusetts residents prescribed Purdue-branded opioids since 2009.
“The opioid epidemic is killing five people every day in Massachusetts,” said Healey. “Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multibillion-dollar business based on deception and addiction. The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people in Massachusetts suffered and died. These defendants must be held accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our state and claimed so many lives.”
Separately, the cities of Ansonia, Danbury, Derby and Norwalk filed their own lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court that accused Purdue Pharma and five other opioid manufacturers – Cephalon, Janssen, Endo Health Solutions, Insys Therapeutics and Actavis – of engaging in “fraudulent misrepresentations regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids” and claimed “the distributors failed to comply with their obligations under state and federal law.” Similar lawsuits have been filed by more than 20 Connecticut municipalities during the past nine months.
“Our firm is based here in Connecticut, and many of us are Connecticut natives,” said Kelly A. Fitzpatrick, partner at Danbury-based Ventura Law, which represents the four cities. “As such, we have witnessed first-hand the calamitous impact of the opioid crisis on our friends, families and neighbors in our communities. We look forward to holding these companies accountable for creating and intensifying one of the worst public health crises in United States history.”