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Pharmaceuticals / Submissions and Approvals

New York Files Detailed Suit Against Opioid Makers, Distributors

April 5, 2019
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New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has joined the opioid fray accusing drugmakers and distributors—including Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family—of unleashing a “plague” that has killed thousands.

New York is the 38th state to target pharma companies for the opioid crisis, but the AG contends it is the most comprehensive suit filed to date.

“As the Sackler Family and the other defendants grew richer, New Yorkers’ health grew poorer and our state was left to foot the bill,” James said in announcing the lawsuit. “The manufacturers and distributors of opioids are to blame for this crisis and it is past time they take responsibility.”

The 269-page complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County names more than a dozen companies as defendants, calling them “profiteers” who used a common “playbook” of misleading claims that exploited “the plague they knew would be unleashed.”

The suit alleges that Purdue and the Sacklers were the central villains in an ongoing saga that kills nine New Yorkers per day, developing OxyContin in the mid-1990s and then continuing to market it despite knowing how addictive and dangerous it was.

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