Current Opioid Litigation
Purdue Pharma strongly denies the allegations made against the company in the pending litigation but is committed to working with all relevant parties towards a constructive resolution.
The opioid addiction crisis is among our nation’s most urgent public health challenges, and Purdue is committed to continuing our collaboration with all stakeholders, including first responders, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to combat it.
A number of civil opioid-related lawsuits have been filed across the country, attempting to blame Purdue, along with wholesalers, distributors, pharmacy chains, and other drugmakers for the opioid addiction crisis. Many of the lawsuits have been coordinated before a federal district judge in Cleveland. This process is known as multidistrict litigation (MDL).
The lawsuits contain allegations, not proven facts. Purdue will continue to defend itself vigorously against any misleading and inflammatory claims. The responsibility for this crisis cannot, as a matter of law, be tied to one company that manufactures a small fraction of the prescription opioids in the United States.
In 2007, Purdue entered into a global resolution of a variety of federal, state and private claims relating to its sales and marketing of OxyContin. As part of that resolution, Purdue pled guilty to misbranding of OxyContin between January 1996 and June 2001, and agreed to make payments totaling $634.5 million.
Latest Litigation Developments
On May 10th, a County District Court Judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of North Dakota that sought to hold Purdue Pharma accountable for the opioid epidemic. The Judge dismissed the state’s claims that Purdue violated North Dakota consumer protection law by downplaying the risks of opioids. He found that the state failed to allege how the allegedly misleading marketing actually caused harm.
“The state does not identify any North Dakota doctor who ever received any specific purported misrepresentation made by Purdue, or who wrote a medically unnecessary prescription because of those alleged statements.”
The Judge also dismissed North Dakota’s claim that Purdue’s activities created a public nuisance by expanding the opioid market and use via an aggressive and deceitful marketing campaign.
“The reality is that Purdue has no control over its product after it is sold to distributors, then to pharmacies, and then prescribed to consumers. Purdue cannot control how doctors prescribe its products and it certainly cannot control how individual patients use and respond to its products, regardless of any warning or instruction Purdue may give.”
Ultimately, the Judge ruled that the state’s effort to hold one company accountable for a very complex public health issue oversimplifies the problem.