North Dakota joins other states in suing Purdue Pharma for opioid promotion


Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt announces a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma during a news conference at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas on May 15, 2018.

The suit alleges Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and created a statewide public nuisance.

Justin Nelson, a Democrat who is challenging Paxton's re-election bid in November, said in an emailed statement that the announcement "is too little too late for so many Texas families suffering from the opioid crisis" and that "Paxton has sat idly by while drug companies have hiked up prices with no consequences".

Similar lawsuits are being filed in Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

Connecticut-based Purdue denied the claims in an email statement that said it will defend itself.

Laxalt's lawsuit seeks civil penalties and damages for reimbursement and treatment, and seeks to cease Purdue's unlawful promotion of opioids on behalf of the State as a whole and the municipalities and counties.

"We are disappointed that after months of good faith negotiations working toward a meaningful resolution to help the state of Tennessee address the opioid crisis, the attorney general has unilaterally made a decision to pursue a costly and protracted litigation process", he said.

According to the lawsuit, Purdue Pharma intentionally released messages to downplay the concerns of patients and prescribers regarding opioids. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted in its 2016 guidelines that "there is no good evidence that opioids improve pain or function with long-term use".

Slatery requested that the lawsuit be temporarily sealed because documents Purdue turned over during his office's investigation contain "highly confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information". A spokeswoman for the office did not say when that lawsuit would be filed. "Purdue targeted vulnerable patient populations, such as the elderly and veterans, while refusing to recognize the increased risk associated with opioid use in these patient populations".

"We lack the resources that we need to treat this problem", said Stenehjem. "They're really on a parallel course".

They allege the pharmaceutical company and opioid manufacturer played a leading role in the opioid epidemic in the Mid-South. Washington County is considering filing suit.