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State sues Stamford-based Purdue Pharma for ‘role in opioid crisis’

HARTFORD – Attorney General George Jepsen announced Thursday that the state has initiated a lawsuit against Stamford-based Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and several current and former members of Purdue’s management and board of directors alleging that they designed, financed and waged a pervasive and aggressive campaign to mislead doctors and patients, claiming that prescription opioid medications manufactured and marketed by the company were safe and effective and strategically downplaying risks of addiction that they knew were inherent in their opioid products.

The state alleges that Purdue “peddled a series of falsehoods” to push patients toward its opioids, reaping massive profits from sales while opioid addiction skyrocketed to the crisis level that is currently impacting Connecticut and states across the country.

“For a number of months, Connecticut and our multistate partners have been engaged in intensive negotiations with opioid manufacturers and distributors in the hope of resolving potential legal claims in a way that would avoid protracted litigation and would bring opioid treatment resources to those who are desperately in need,” said Attorney General Jepsen, who currently serves as part of the leadership of a multistate coalition of attorneys general who are investigating opioid manufacturers and distributors, in a statement. “I expect those negotiations to continue, and I remain hopeful they will bring a resolution that helps to address this ongoing crisis.”

“Purdue Pharma, however, has not demonstrated to me that it is serious about addressing the states’ very real allegations of misconduct and coming to a meaningful settlement. It is my hope that, in filing this lawsuit at this time, Connecticut can assist in the collective effort to hold this company and responsible individuals accountable. We will allege in court that Purdue knowingly put its own exorbitant profits first when it purposefully and systematically misled doctors by not just downplaying the terrible risks of addiction, but by forcefully asserting that opioid products were safe, that the risk of addiction was low, and that patients experiencing symptoms of addiction should actually be prescribed higher and greater doses of Purdue’s opioid drugs. We allege that this behavior was endorsed and promoted by the highest leadership of the company and that it was in violation of Connecticut law.”

Please click here to view a copy of the state’s complaint.

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