New Jersey Sues Makers of OxyContin
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office recently announced plans to sue Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the opioid painkiller, OxyContin. The five-count lawsuit charges that Purdue deceptively marketed the drug and largely contributed to the national opioid epidemic. The 100-page complaint filed in Superior Court claims that Purdue misrepresented pain as being undertreated, recommending opioids as the preferred option for chronic pain patients. Purdue Pharma denies the allegations and says they are eager to defend their position in court.
The Marketing of OxyContin
According to the state of New Jersey’s complaint against Purdue, pharmaceutical sales representatives in New Jersey worked with doctors to reach goals between 500 and 700 prescriptions per month. The lawsuit further alleges that Purdue ignored research suggesting that long-term opioid use was neither safe nor effective for chronic pain.
Opioid painkillers have long been used to treat acute pain for patients suffering from cancer and other fatal illnesses. OxyContin arrived in the 1990s, offering long-lasting pain relief with a time-release function. Doctors were led to believe OxyContin was a safer pain relief option. In 2007, Purdue settled a case with the United States Department of Justice for deceptive marketing, but New Jersey says these practices continued well after the settlement.
New Jersey’s Opioid Problem
New Jersey is far from immune from the current opioid addiction epidemic sweeping the nation. Last year, 1,901 people were fatally injured from opioid overdoses, blanketing every county in the state. Most of these fatalities involved heroin, a cheaper, more potent opioid made from morphine. According to a research study, four out of five heroin users started their drug use with prescription opioids. Opioid addiction often begins with opioids prescribed after injury, surgery, or for chronic pain. Because opioids are highly-addictive, patients often turn to illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl once their prescriptions run out, fail to get them high, or become too expensive.
Purdue Pharma says they have taken steps to combat opioid addiction. They supply doctors with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. They developed a new version of the OxyContin that was more difficult to crush, inject, or snort. According to Purdue, they have also funded addiction hotlines and trained law enforcement officials to identify commonly-abused drugs.
New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Firm of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Injured Workers
New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation system spent more than $140 million on OxyContin-based painkillers for the state’s injured and ill employees. For many of those workers, medication prescribed for pain relief from a job-related injury led to a cycle of addiction, pain, and suffering. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a wrongly-prescribed medication, Harold J. Gerr and his team of New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyers are here to help. For more than 40 years, we have been fighting for injured workers and their families. To discuss the best legal course of action after a work injury, call our Highland Park, New Jersey offices at 732-537-8570, or contact us online today. We proudly serve residents throughout the state.