FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Legal Newsline) – A group of pharmaceutical manufacturers and sellers has moved to dismiss a class action suit filed by a consumer who alleges prescription opioids were fraudulently marketed.

Defendants Purdue Pharma and others asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division on Sept. 29 that the case be dismissed for numerous reasons, including the expiration of the five-year statute of limitations. 

"Plaintiff’s claims are defective and should be dismissed for multiple independent reasons," the motion to dismiss states.

According to the motion to dismiss, the defendants also claim the lawsuit was based on an argument that opioids were fraudulently marketed "to persuade doctors and patients that opioids can and should be used for chronic pain" in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The defendants argue approved for medical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and marketing activities is likewise regulated.

The companies note that because they are regulated by the FDA, they cannot be in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act under the “safe harbor” provisions, which does not allow for claims that allege false or misleading advertising.

The defendants also allege that the plaintiff did not allege that he paid for any opioid medication or treatment for addiction, or that any prescription he received was improper or that the defendants misled his prescribing physician.

In June, Michael Ray Lewis filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division against Purdue Pharma LP, Purdue Pharma Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Cephalon Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, et al. alleging unjust enrichment and other counts.

According to court documents, Lewis alleges that he was prescribed opioids in 2005 and has had numerous prescriptions filled over the years, which led to an opioid addiction that required treatment.

He blames the companies named in the complaint for his addition, noting that the defendants allegedly made materially misleading misrepresentations regarding the addictive nature of opioids and were enriched at the expense of the plaintiff and the proposed class.

Lewis requested a trial by jury and seeks damages, restitution, disgorgement, monetary relief, interest, all legal fees and other relief.

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U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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