Montana sues Purdue Pharma for role in propelling opioid epidemic
Addiction Breaking News Opioid Addiction Substance Abuse Dec 05, 2017
Montana sues Purdue Pharma for role in propelling opioid epidemic

Breaking away from the trend of suing pharma companies jointly with other states—an initial initiative adopted by several states to make the companies manufacturing opioids pay for the opioid epidemic—Montana has decided to take on OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP, all alone. The lawsuit was announced on Dec. 4, 2017, by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.

The state is filing a consumer protection suit against the OxyContin maker allegedly for its deceptive marketing techniques. The company faces the charges of misrepresenting the risks of addiction to opioids, which, in turn, is costing Montana millions of dollars in prescription, prevention and medical and social costs. Now, the state has decided to pursue an individual libel suit against the pharma company.

AG Fox said that Purdue had employed deceptive marketing strategies, misguiding the people about the ominous long-term effects of the drug. The company had been making false claims about opioids throughout—propagating the treatment of chronic pain with opioids as safe. “Pharmaceutical companies that knowingly and deceptively harm consumers must be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

Purdue refutes claims

Purdue, on the other hand, has denied the accusations, saying that all its medications have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and dubbed them as safe for long-term use. It also claimed that all medicines carry warning labels about any risks for addiction. “We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being a part of the solution,” company representatives said in a statement.

Montana isn’t the only state suing Purdue; 11 other states have also filed lawsuits against it. Several cities and counties have filed lawsuits against Purdue apart from a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut.

Time to rein in the problem

The opioid crisis in the United States is now an epidemic. Majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid—more than six out of 10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled since 1999. Further, 91 Americans perish every day due to an opioid overdose. Moreover, according to preliminary reports, more than 64,000 people died in 2016 in the U.S. due to opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin. This is a record for any single year so far.

Opioids are highly addictive, yet the pharma companies continue to underplay its long-term effects, jeopardizing the lives of millions of people who receive opioid prescriptions to assuage their pain.

Road to recovery

Although chronic addiction—be it to opioids or any other substance— is fatal, with treatment, one can definitely gain long-term recovery. If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction, seek immediate treatment from any credible rehab in your vicinity.

Hooked Sober is a source of information on drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental disorders. Please send your questions, concerns or comments to [email protected] or speak to a representative at 866-838-4087.

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