The suit says Purdue Pharma drug representatives made 531,000 calls on doctors in the state since 2007, when the company settled with Pennsylvania and 25 other states and agreed to stop illegal diversion of OxyContin and to promote it only for federally approved uses. The company is facing a barrage of legal challenges from local counties, states and other parties eager to hold it accountable for the role it played in the opioid epidemic.
The company that makes OxyContin did not stop pitching the powerful opioid painkiller to doctors even when its sales representatives raised concerns that they were prescribing the drug inappropriately, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said in a lawsuit announced Tuesday. The lawsuit against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma was filed on May 2 under seal and announced on Tuesday. It made Pennsylvania at least the 39th state to sue the company seeking to hold it responsible for the toll of opioids, which have been killing more people in the U.S. and Pennsylvania each year than car crashes. (Mulvihill, 5/14)
Shapiro’s lawsuit accuses the drugmaker of aiming more than 500,000 misleading or deceptive messages about its products’ potential for addiction at Pennsylvania doctors. “Simply stated, Purdue took advantage of addiction to make money,” the suit says. The lawsuit says the company made more sales visits in Pennsylvania than any other state except California. The Connecticut-based firm has sold more than 2.9 million opioid prescriptions in Pennsylvania since May 2007, according to Shapiro. (Budryk, 5/14)
HHS awarded $24 million to rural organizations across 40 states to develop strategies for preventing and treating opioid abuse. The Health Resources and Services Administration announced on Monday that it will provide $200,000 for one year to 120 rural organizations, part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to fill major gaps in addiction treatment and recovery in rural areas. (King, 5/14)
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