Texas is one of six states to say Wednesday that it’s suing drug-making giant Purdue Pharma over its role in fueling the opioid crisis. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his office is joining five other AGs, who also announced intentions Wednesday to go after the OxyContin-maker with similar lawsuits.
Paxton’s office alleges that the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for using deceptive marketing tactics while it knew the dangers of opioid addiction.
“As Purdue got rich from sales of its opioids, Texans and others across the nation were swept up in a public health crisis that led to tens of thousands of deaths each year due to opioid overdoses,” Paxton says in a statement.
His office is seeking “significant penalties from the company for its illegal conduct, and a permanent injunction to prevent future harm to Texans.”
Here’s how the office characterizes the violations of the deceptive trade practices act:
• Misrepresenting or failing to disclose the risk of addiction of opioids;
• Misrepresenting that there is no “ceiling dose” of their opioid drugs—falsely representing that doctors and patients could increase opioid dosages indefinitely without risk;
• Making false, unsubstantiated representations about “pseudoaddiction,” and falsely representing to doctors that common signs of addiction in patients are actually signs that the patient needs a higher dose of opioid;
• Falsely representing that Purdue’s abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin reduces the risks of OxyContin, including the risk of addiction
Texas joined Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Nevada in targeting Purdue with legal action.
More than 42,000 opioid overdoses were reported across the country in 2016, including 1,375 deaths related to opioids in Texas.