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Pharmaceutical company lawsuit reveals behind the scene manipulations of opioid sales

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 11:42:24-05

BOSTON — A leading pharmaceutical company at the center of national opioid litigation in a Cleveland federal court is being accused of behind the scene manipulation of opioid sales in a separate lawsuit filed in Massachusetts.

Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures Oxycontin, is being accused in a 274-page memorandum filed by Massachusetts Attorney General of "deceiving doctors into keeping patients on opioids for longer and longer periods of time."

The revelations spell out details the drug company fought to redact and prevent from going public in a lawsuit that contains similar allegations to the National Opioid Litigation currently underway in federal court in Cleveland that was brought by 1,500 communities across the country including Cleveland, Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

Among the allegations:

  • Purdue Pharma gave explicit instructions to sales staff to keep patients on opioid longer
  • Targeting doctor visits--one doctor allegedly was visited 600 times in a single year
  • A slide show reminding sales staff that lower doses would be "bad for business"

While the Massachusetts case is not part of the national litigation, a lead plaintiff's attorney in the federal lawsuit said recently that he cannot comment directly on the evidence.

Purdue Pharma-Mass. AG by on Scribd

Last week, plaintiff attorney Joe Rice did mention a 2007 federal lawsuit where it "misled regulators, doctors and patients about the risks."

"You know, that Purdue pled guilty to fraud in the market and paid a $600 million fine. I don't think they did that because they had done good things," said Rice.

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