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State of Indiana sues Purdue Pharma over misleading opioid claims, opioid abuse epidemic

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Wednesday that the state is suing Purdue Pharma, a major manufacturer of opioids.

Hill accused the company of encouraging overprescribing and using misleading tactics in order to get doctors to prescribe its drugs. Hill said Purdue Pharma violated state law by underselling the risks of addiction and overstating the benefits of opioids for chronic pain.

Hill said the lawsuit is the culmination of two years of investigation and multiple depositions.

“Purdue Pharma’s products include the well-known painkiller Oxycontin,” Hill said. “Following our investigations in Indiana, this lawsuit demands Purdue Pharma answer for its violations of Indiana law. The allegations against Purdue Pharma depict the lengths to which this company sought to increase profits in Indiana, including by minimizing or denying the risk of addiction.”

Hill said the company failed to disclose to the risk of taking opioids at high doses and targeted elderly or opioid-naive patients to create a “new market of long-term customers.”

“Victims of Purdue Pharma’s actions include Hoosiers who have become addicted to opioid products after getting legitimate prescriptions to treat real ailments,” Hill said, adding that the victims’ families and friends have also been affected.

The lawsuit alleges company violated several state laws, including the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; the Prescription Drug Discount and Benefit Cards Statute; the False Claims Act; and the Medicaid False Claims Act.

Hill said the litigation represents one of the most complex cases in state history. Several Indiana cities and counties have filed similar lawsuits, but Hill said the state lawsuit would not supersede those legal actions.