Herring Sues Drug Company

Alleges Purdue Pharma Lied About Opioid Risks

June 27, 2018 - 1:43 pm

RICHMOND (June 27, 2018)—Attorney General Mark Herring today filed a lawsuit accusing Purdue Pharma of profiting from an opioid crisis that it helped create and prolong through a decades-long campaign of lies and misrepresentations in violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Since 2007, 8,000 Virginians have died from an opioid overdose, including 5,000 from a prescription opioid overdose. During the same period, the lawsuit claims Purdue made false claims about the purported safety, efficacy, and benefits of its opioids, including OxyContin.  It also alleges the company pumped tens of millions of pills and patches into the Commonwealth of Virginia, and reported billions in profits.

Herring’s lawsuit was filed this morning in the Circuit Court of Tazewell County, where the rate of fatal prescription drug overdoses is more than four times the state average. The suit, which also alleges Purdue created an unlawful public nuisance, asks for injunctive relief.

“For decades, Purdue Pharma has amassed a fortune and built an empire on suffering and lies about the dangers of its drugs and its central role in creating and profiting from the deadliest drug epidemic in American history,” said Attorney General Herring. “The opioid crisis that is touching so many Virginia families is the direct and foreseeable result of Purdue’s complex, large-scale, and years-long campaign of deception. For too long Purdue has ignored its moral and legal responsibilities, while working overtime to boost the sale of its opioids by increasing the number of doctors who prescribe, increasing how much they prescribe, increasing the number of people asking for and taking opioids, and increasing the amount they take. I have filed suit to stop the lies, to stop the perverse incentives that have pumped millions of pills into Virginia, and to stop the heartbreak and loss of life.”

Attorney General Herring’s suit alleges that Virginia’s opioid crisis “is the direct and foreseeable result of a decades-long, complex, large-scale campaign of misrepresentations and deception.” 

Purdue Pharma has denied such allegations in similar lawsuits.