Tennessee attorney general sues opioid manufacturer for role in - WSMV News 4

Tennessee attorney general sues opioid manufacturer for role in deadly epidemic

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slattery III and a bipartisan group of attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals for their alleged unlawful marketing of OxyContin and other drugs that have caused and prolonged the opioid epidemic in the state. 

The state's original lawsuit, which was filed in Knox County Circuit Court last year, alleges Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, as well as a 2007 settlement made with the state of Tennessee and, "created a statewide public nuisance by interfering with the health of Tennesseans and the commercial marketplace."

“Our Office has conducted an extensive investigation into Purdue’s highly aggressive marketing practices and other unlawful conduct," Slattery said. "We believe Purdue’s conduct has been unconscionable, and we intend to hold the company accountable. Three Tennesseans are dying each day from opioid-related overdoses, and we are committed to the hard work that needs to be done to address this tragedy.”

The 270-page complaint outlines the state's argument, which accuses the company of causing the "most devastating public health crisis in Tennessee history" by making unlawful and misleading claims about the safety and benefits of drugs like OxyContin. 

The complaint also claims Purdue continued to market their drugs in this manner despite knowing the pills were causing deadly overdoses and increasing illegal drug trades. 

The order was filed under a 10-day temporary steal unless Purdue makes a motion to extend it. Previously, Purdue has argued that the information gathered during the state's investigation should remain confidential. 

However, the AG says the complaint should be made known to the public, and keeping it under seal would only further dilute the company's accountability for their conduct.  

The Tennessee Attorney General's office is leading a bipartisan, multi-state group in this lawsuit against various opioid manufacturers and distributors as well as participating as a non-party in settlement discussions of another lawsuit pending in Cleveland, Ohio. 

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