Massachusetts opened a new front in litigation against opioid manufacturers as Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Purdue and 16 current and former executives and directors of contributing to the opioid crisis and to the deaths of nearly 700 Massachusetts residents since 2009.
The defendants include the drugmaker’s current CEO Mark Timney and two former CEOs, Craig Landau and John Stewart. The complaint also names 13 members of the company’s board of directors, including eight members of the Sackler family, which has sole ownership of Purdue.
The complaint accuses the defendants of distributing and sponsoring unbranded promotional materials that misrepresented the risks of addiction, overdose and death associated with their products. It further claims they made false claims on the products’ impact on patients’ quality of life. Moreover, Healey claims, the defendants specifically targeted vulnerable populations including veterans, the elderly and patients who were inexperienced with opioids, and misled prescribers and patients about the risks associated with prolonged use to ensure longer treatment durations.