Idaho’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family, the company’s owners, accusing them of profiting off of the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic.
ABC News reported that Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (R) filed suit Monday, claiming that Purdue and members of the Sackler family mounted one of the “deadliest marketing campaigns in history” to urge doctors to prescribe opiates to patients despite the risks of addiction.
The suit names eight members of the Sackler family, according to ABC News, and mirrors efforts in other states to hold the company accountable for allegedly misleading doctors and patients about the risks of opioid usage and the effectiveness of competing treatments.
“Between 1999 and 2017, Idaho’s opioid-related death rate nearly tripled. In 2015 alone, approximately 1.3 million opioid prescriptions were written in Idaho — nearly one prescription for every man, woman, and child in the State,” Wasden’s lawsuit states, according to ABC. “This crisis and its consequences could and should have been avoided.”
Purdue, the lawsuit continues, “misled and deceived doctors into prescribing more of Purdue’s opioids, in increasingly dangerous doses, and for longer periods of time, while persuading doctors and patients alike to forego safer alternatives.”
A spokesperson for Purdue Pharma told ABC that the company “vigorously denies” the claims, and would fight them in court.
“These sensationalized claims are part of a continuing effort to try these cases in the court of public opinion rather than the justice system, as plaintiffs are unable to connect the conduct alleged to the harm described. Instead, they have invented stunningly overbroad legal theories, which if adopted by courts, will undermine the bedrock legal principle of causation,” the company said.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of another suit filed by Pennsylvania’s attorney general against Purdue earlier this month.
“There is nothing natural about this epidemic—it was manufactured in part by Purdue Pharma, as the company deceptively marketed OxyContin despite knowing the risk of addiction,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) wrote earlier this month.
“While Pennsylvania paid the price, Purdue made more than $35 billion in revenue. We’re taking action to hold them accountable for their greed and the devastation they pushed for profit,” Shapiro added.