PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General has filed a civil lawsuit against several prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging deceptive and fraudulent marketing of opioids in the state.
The lawsuit, filed in Rhode Island Superior Court, targets opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma LP, Purdue Pharma Inc. and The Purdue Frederick Company Inc., Also named are opioid distributors McKesson Corporation, doing business as cKesson Drug Company, Cardinal Health, Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Drug Company.
According to the Office of Attorney General, the lawsuit stems from an investigation into the increase of prescription opioids throughout Rhode Island.
"This suit reflects what we found through our investigation and seeks to hold those we believe to be responsible accountable for their actions, as well as seeking long-term remedies to help our citizens," Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said in a statement. "The opioid epidemic is a major public health crisis in Rhode Island and we must use every tool at our disposal to fight back."
The lawsuit alleges Purdue worked to "change the perception" of opioids when it developed OxyContin in the 1990s and persuaded both prescribers and patients it was safe for prolonged use while distributors "disregarded their obligations" in identifying orders and customers which were suspicious.
According to the Office of Attorney General, opioid prescriptions in Rhode Island 2006 through 2012 exceeded the national average with 83.2 prescriptions per 100 people.