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New York AG expands lawsuit against opioid manufacturers to include Purdue Pharma owners

By Marian Johns | Apr 2, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) — New York has filed a lawsuit against six prescription opioid manufacturers and the owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, alleging false and deceptive marketing and negligence in preventing "unlawful diversion" of controlled substances. 

According to a March 28 New York Attorney General's Office news release, the lawsuit is the nation's most sweeping legal action against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The lawsuit alleges the drug manufacturers and distributors contributed to the nation's opioid crisis by having inadequate monitoring programs that failed to  detect and report "suspicious" dispensing as well as mislead the public about the safety and risks of prescription opioids.   

The recently filed complaint, which expands a previous lawsuit, includes Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, members of the Sackler family and their controlled trusts; and Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates, which includes its parent company Johnson & Johnson. Also named in the lawsuit are Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Allergan Finance LLC along with these companies' affiliates.

There are thousands of opioid lawsuits pending in courts around the country. Most are housed in a federal multidistrict litigation proceeding in Cleveland federal court.

Last week, Purdue Pharma settled claims brought by the Oklahoma attorney general for $270 million - of which, $60 million went to private lawyers representing Oklahoma on a contingency fee.

“We found that pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors engaged in years of deceptive marketing about the risks of opioids and failed to exercise their basic duty to report suspicious behavior, leading to the crisis we are living with today," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

"As the Sackler family and the other defendants grew richer, New Yorkers’ health grew poorer and our state as left to foot the bill.  The manufacturers and distributors of opioids are to blame for this crisis and it is past time they take responsibility.” 

The lawsuit seeks to revoke the companies' New York licenses to sell controlled substances in addition to seeking financial restitution.

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