South Carolina sues Purdue Pharma LP over deceptive marketing practices

16 Aug 2017


South Carolina yesterday sued Purdue Pharma LP to become the latest state or local government to accuse the OxyContin maker of deceptive marketing practices.

According to commentators, the practices have contributed to a national opioid addiction epidemic.

The lawsuit accuses the company of pursuing unfair and deceptive practices to market opioid painkillers. The lawsuit has been brought by South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson, and was filed in Richland County Court of Common Pleas in Columbia.

Wilson has accused Purdue of telling doctors that patients who receive prescriptions for opioids generally will not become addicted and those who appeared to be were only "pseudoaddicted" and needed more of the drugs.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015, the latest year for which data is available, and the death rate continued to rise, according to estimates.

"While there is a time and place for patients to receive opioids, Purdue prevented doctors and patients from receiving complete and accurate information about opioids in order to make informed choices about their treatment options," Wilson said in a statement.

Denying the allegations, Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue said it shares the concerns of South Carolina officials about the crisis and is committed to finding solutions.

The suit accuses Purdue of failing to comply with a 2007 agreement it signed with South Carolina and dozens of other states over allegations of its promotion of OxyContin.

Under the consent agreement, Purdue is required to correct its allegedly abusive and excessive marketing practices, maintain a programme for identifying prescribers who over-prescribe OxyContin and train sales representatives in the abuse and diversion detection programme before promotion of the drug.

"We do not believe that a single lawsuit against a single company will magically fix the problem," Wilson said yesterday, Associated Press reported. "But what I can do today as South Carolina's chief legal officer is to bring this lawsuit against Purdue for its deceit and misrepresentation."

Earlier last week, the company was sued by New Hampsire for its marketing practices for OxyContin (See: Purdue Pharma sued by New Hampshire AG office over deceptive marketing)

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