AG Curtis Hill: Court decision clears way for state to proceed in lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

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Attorney General Curtis Hill today expressed continued resolve to hold Purdue Pharma accountable for its alleged role in contributing to the state’s opioid crisis after a court rejected the company’s motion to dismiss Indiana’s pending lawsuit.

In its motion to dismiss, Purdue Pharma argued among other things that Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act does not apply to the company because it is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. On Aug. 12, a Marion Superior Court judge rejected entirely the company’s arguments for dismissal.

“We remain steadfast in our belief that Purdue Pharma must answer for its violations of Indiana law,” Attorney General Hill said. “Any company that engages in unfair, abusive and deceptive practices in Indiana must be held accountable for such misconduct.”

Attorney General Hill filed the state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma on Nov. 14, 2018, alleging that the company sought to increase profits by promoting its opioids in Indiana, including by:

  • minimizing or denying the risk of addiction;
  • exaggerating the benefits of the use of opioids for treatment of chronic pain;
  • denying or failing to disclose the increased dangers of opioids at higher doses;
  • targeting elderly and opioid-naïve patients to create a new market of long-term customers;
  • spreading the above misrepresentations to Indiana’s medical community and to consumers; and
  • engaging in an elaborate deception by enlisting what appeared to be independent entities carrying neutral information that were actually paid, funded or otherwise controlled by Purdue to publicize statements known to be unsupported by facts or scientific research.

The lawsuit alleges that Purdue violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; the Prescription Drug Discount and Benefit Cards Statute; the False Claims Act; and the Medicaid False Claims Act. The complaint seeks maximum penalties, treble damages, costs and an order directing Purdue Pharma to stop its unlawful conduct.

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