Virginia has become the latest state to sue Stamford-headquartered Purdue Pharma over the company’s marketing and distribution of opioids.
Attorney General Mark R. Herring filed his lawsuit in Virginia’s Tazewell County Circuit Court, charging the company with violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Herring accused Purdue Pharma of intentionally making false claims about the safety and benefits of opioids, including OxyContin, while culling billions of dollars in profits as the opioid crisis metastasized. Herring added that 8,000 Virginians died from an opioid overdose since 2007, including 5,000 from a prescription opioid overdose, adding that accidental overdoses accounted for 8,578 emergency room visits during 2017, with Virginia spending approximately $28 million on hospital visits last year because of opioid use.
“For decades, Purdue Pharma has amassed a fortune and built an empire on suffering and lies about the dangers of its drugs and its central role in creating and profiting from the deadliest drug epidemic in American history,” said Herring. “The opioid crisis that is touching so many Virginia families is the direct and foreseeable result of Purdue’s complex, large-scale and years-long campaign of deception. For too long Purdue has ignored its moral and legal responsibilities, while working overtime to boost the sale of its opioids by increasing the number of doctors who prescribe, increasing how much they prescribe, increasing the number of people asking for and taking opioids, and increasing the amount they take. I have filed suit to stop the lies, to stop the perverse incentives that have pumped millions of pills into Virginia, and to stop the heartbreak and loss of life.”
In addition to Virginia, Massachusetts and four Connecticut municipalities also recently launched lawsuits against Purdue Pharma.