Tennessee joins states suing OxyContin maker

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announces lawsuit against opioid manufacturer in Fargo

The Texas lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma of using a marketing campaign to convince doctors and consumers that their opioid drugs are effective for treating long-term pain and have a low risk of addiction.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, along with a bipartisan group of attorneys general, sued Purdue Pharma today for its unlawful marketing and promotion of OxyContin and other drugs and its role in causing and prolonging the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, according to a news release.

Starting previous year, Paxton and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general have been conducting an investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices. Nevada and five other states are filing new lawsuits alleging that a pharmaceutical company used deceptive marketing to boost drugs sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths.

Stenehjem estimates Purdue has raked in almost 35 billion dollars from opioids over the years that have taken thousands of lives, numbers he calls unconscionable. He said the filing by these attorneys general promises costly and protracted litigation. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma.

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In a statement, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma denied the claims and said the company will defend itself. He says proceeds from the lawsuit should be devoted to opioid treatment programs.

Stenehjem says depending on how the settlement progresses goes, the state could amend its complaint to add other manufactures or bring separate suits.

Earlier this month, four out of five North Dakota tribal nations have filed lawsuits against 24 opioid manufacturers and distributors that allege devastating public health effects from the opioid epidemic and seek monetary damages. The cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

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