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NY opioid lawsuit alleges 'pattern of deception' from Purdue Pharma

New York has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma LP alleging that the company misled patients about the risks of its opioids, adding to the list of litigation brought against pharmaceutical companies amid the opioid crisis.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in an Aug. 14 lawsuit that Purdue made misrepresentations about its products for decades, including concealing the link between the long-term use of opioids and the likelihood of abuse and addiction. According to Underwood, Purdue claimed that OxyContin was less likely to be abused or linked to addiction than other opioid products and that withdrawal from its products can be easily managed. The company made the representations in an attempt to increase sales of its products, the attorney general said.

"Our investigation found a pattern of deception and reckless disregard for New Yorkers' health and well-being — as Purdue lined its own pockets by deliberately exploiting our communities," Underwood said in a statement.

The lawsuit alleges that in New York alone, 2,399 deaths were caused by opioid painkillers, including those sold by Purdue.

New York is seeking an order prohibiting Purdue from engaging in deceptive and unlawful practices and directing the company to pay civil penalties and damages to the state.

The lawsuit joins those filed by Arkansas, South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Utah, which also have alleged that Purdue conducted unlawful marketing and promotion of its prescription painkillers.

A New York State Supreme Court judge has already rejected the request of Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan PLC, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Endo International PLC to dismiss the lawsuits filed against them over their alleged roles in the opioid crisis.

The U.S. opioid epidemic, which kills about 115 Americans each day, has sparked multiple investigations from Congress, states and other agencies.