Purdue Pharma Cases Go Forward, Following NY Judge's Ruling

26 Jun, 2019 Nancy Grover


Central Islip, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) - In what is said to be the first such decision in lawsuits focused on the opioid epidemic, a New York State Supreme Court judge denied a request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by cities and counties against Purdue Pharma. The ruling by Justice Jerry Garguilo sets the ball rolling for dozens of cities and counties to seek reimbursement for the social costs of opioid abuse.

“By way of this action, the plaintiffs seek to recover damages for harm allegedly caused by false and misleading marketing campaigns promoting opioid medications as safe and effective for long-term treatment of chronic pain, and by the sale and distribution of those medications in such counties and cities,” the court ruling says. “Briefly stated, the plaintiffs allege that tortious and illegal actions by the defendants fueled an opioid crisis within their municipalities, causing them to spend millions of dollars in payments for prescription opioids for employees and Medicaid beneficiaries that would have not been approved as necessary for treatment of chronic pain if the true risks and benefits associated with such medications had been known. They also allege that the defendants' actions have forced them to pay the costs of implementing opioid treatment programs for residents, purchasing prescriptions of naloxone to treat prescription opioid overdoses, combating opioid-related criminal activities, and other such expenses arising from the crisis.”

Once pre-trial issues are resolved, the lawsuits will return to their home counties for trials set to begin in September 2020. The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, has 10 days from June 21 to answer to the complaint. Representatives did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Mwanwhile, several states, counties and municipalities throughout the country are suing opioid manufacturers and others to recoup money for the opioid crisis. In March, Purdue settled a claim in Oklahoma for $270 million. Within days of that agreement, New York’s attorney general filed a suit against Purdue, Johnson & Johnson and others.

About 2,000 suits were consolidated in federal court in Ohio. That trial is set to begin in October, barring a settlement.

A judge in Oklahoma is hearing a case the state brought against Johnson & Johnson.


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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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