Examining the Lawsuit Massachusetts Filed Against Purdue Pharma Over the Opioids Problem
On January 15, 2019, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a 274-page pre-hearing memorandum alleging the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma “created the [opioid] epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit” by enticing doctors to prescribe their medication and peddling “falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives.” This is no small accusation from Massachusetts. If the state is going take this action against Purdue Pharma, one would hope that their case rests on solid evidence. But, unfortunately, the facts do not seem to support the commonwealth’s claims. Contrary to the commonwealth’s narrative, prescription opioid addiction rates have not been on the rise. While prescribing rates have fluctuated over the past 15 years, nonmedical prescription opioid use has remained constant since 2002. Furthermore, the most recent spike in opioid overdose deaths reflects not prescription opioid deaths, but those of illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl—street narcotics that are not manufactured or sold by Purdue.
Suffolk County, MA, USA
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