Tennessee joins states suing OxyContin maker

Purdue Pharma

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 Attorney General says filing a lawsuit is an important step in fighting addiction by going after the root of the problem.

Paxton's lawsuit seeks "significant penalties" from the company for its alleged illegal conduct, and a permanent injunction to prevent future harm to Texans.

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Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the past year for which data was available, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The defendants include opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma LP, J&J, Teva, Endo International Plc and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp.

Lawsuits already have been filed by 16 other USA states, Puerto Rico and New York City against the privately held company.

Other investigations remain ongoing, according to the AG's office.

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In the complaint with Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, North Dakota alleges that Purdue misrepresented and trivialized the risk of addiction from prolonged use of opioids and reassured prescribers that signs of addiction were due to so-called "pseudoaddiction" and would cease once the patient's pain was controlled.

The state alleges that Purdue made unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of long-term opioids treatment and falsely represented that opioid use improved patients' function and quality of life.

Laxalt says, "In 2012, on a national level, providers wrote enough opioid prescriptions for every adult American to have a bottle of pills". Texas' Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force reported that "overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs" is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the state.

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