Wisconsin files lawsuit against Purdue Pharma regarding opioid epidemic

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MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) — Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has announced that the State is filing a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purder Pharma Inc., and Purdue Pharma’s former co-chairman and president, Richard S. Sackler.

The reason the lawsuit is for alleged misconduct in marketing and sales of opioids that contributed to the opioid epidemic. 

According to the complaint, Purdue Pharma’s deceptive and false marketing created a shift in the understanding of the effectiveness and danger of opioids. It also states Purdue deployed an aggressive marketing campaign that sought to increase sales of OxyContin. 

The complaint also alleges that in 2007, executives of Purdue Pharma pled guilty to a federal felony based on its marketing practices. Even after a settlement in 2007, Purdue continued to engage in false, deceptive and misleading marketing practices in order to downplay the risks associated with OxyContin and other opioids. 

In the complaint, it also states that Purdue and Sackler were fully aware of the potential profits of OxyContin. He also allegedly said at the launch of OxyContin that it “will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.”

In Wisconsin, the consequences of the opioid epidemic has been disastrous; 

  • In 2017, more people died in Wisconsin from an opioid overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, suicide or firearms.
  • Between 1999 to 2015, the volume of prescription opioids per capita in Wisconsin rose 425%.
  • Between 1999 and 2015, Wisconsin lost 45,200 workers due to opioids. 

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