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USA state attorneys general sue Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

USA state attorneys general sue Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic

This story was updated May 15, 2018, at 10:19 p.m. with more information.

The lawsuit alleges Purdue engaged in deceptive marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, fueling Nevada's opioid epidemic and leading to the opioid overdose death of Nevadans.

At a press conference today, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office filed a consumer protection lawsuit in Travis County District Court against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) involving the company's prescription opioids, including OxyContin.

The suit alleges Purdue "misrepresented and trivialized the risk of addiction from "prolonged use" and "re-assured prescribers" that signs of addiction were due to so-called "pseudo-addiction" among other reasons".

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo.

The announcements follow lawsuits already filed by 16 other US states, Puerto Rico and New York City against the privately-held company.

Connecticut-based Purdue denied the claims in an email statement that said it will defend itself. Nationwide, there were 42,249 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas.

"Purdue is the target here because it is one of the largest opioid manufacturers, it pioneered the expansion of the opioid market that caused the opioid epidemic", said Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General.

Starting previous year, Attorney General 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.

Florida also sued drugmakers Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc, Allergan, units of Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mallinckrodt, as well as drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp.