NJ sues drug company amid opioid crisis

New Jersey’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging widespread deception over many years

By EMS1 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey sued an opioid manufacturer, placing blame on the company for the state’s overdose crisis.

NorthJersey.com reported that New Jersey attorney general Christopher Porrino filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, who produces OxyContin. The state alleged widespread deception over several years.

The 100-page lawsuit says Purdue Pharma used manipulation to convince the medical community to choose opioid prescription drugs, OxyContin in particular, for pain treatment. The company had no studies to back up their claims that OxyContin is safe and effective beyond 12 weeks of use.

Porrino said the company’s actions were a "campaign of almost inconceivable callousness and irresponsibility,” and that the state found evidence that sales reps were required to promote opioids to between seven and eight doctors a day, five days a week.

“Prescribing opioids for routine chronic pain is dangerous and, in many cases, inappropriate,” Porrino said in a statement. “However, in New Jersey and across the nation it became mainstream medical practice and the treatment of first resort. How did that happen? It happened because certain companies within the pharmaceutical industry saw a chance to grow their profits by peddling extraordinarily potent, highly-addictive opioid drugs for routine pain. We allege that Purdue Pharma was chief among these opportunistic and predatory companies.”

The state is seeking monetary damages for false claims under the Consumer Fraud Act and the False Claims Act. 

Purdue Pharma denied the allegations.

"We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution," the company said. "As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challenge. Although our products account for approximately two percent of the total opioid prescriptions, as a company, we’ve distributed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, developed three of the first four FDA-approved opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and partner with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxone."

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