6 States Sue Opioid Maker Purdue, Claiming Company Helped Spur Overdoses

Opioid maker Purdue Pharma is the object of lawsuits filed on Tuesday by six states that claim the company helped fuel an epidemic of drug overdoses linked to the painkillers.

The states include Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

In its lawsuit filed in Las Vegas, Nevada claims that Purdue minimized the risks and exaggerated the benefits of long-term opioid use.

"Purdue's deception lined the pockets of its owners and led to the deaths and hospitalization of thousands of Nevadans," Nevada state Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.

In Tennessee's lawsuit, Attorney General Herbert Slatery claimed that Purdue broke a 2007 settlement with his state and "knew patients were dying from overdoses and that its drugs were being illegally sold to non-patients."

In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton also alleged the company erroneously claimed that the opioids Purdue manufactured had no "ceiling dose," meaning that doctors and patients could hike dosages without risk.

But Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue is battling the claims.

In an email to the AP, company spokesman Bob Josephson said that negotiations with state officials to help ease the opioid crisis have already gone on for months prior to states filing the lawsuits.

According to the AP, Purdue already paid out $19.5 million in 2007 to settle similar lawsuits in 26 states and the District of Columbia, without admitting wrongdoing. Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were part of that settlement, while Florida and North Dakota were not.

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