South Carolina’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for the way it marketed opioid medications. At least five other states have filed similar suits.
The lawsuit alleges Purdue Pharma violated the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act by downplaying how addictive opioids can be and overstating the benefits. Attorneys general from Oklahoma, Ohio, New Hampshire, Missouri and Mississippi have brought similar suits against the drug company.
Carl Tobias with the Richmond School of Law believes it’s going to take a critical mass of attorneys general before Purdue would be forced to come to the table.
“You probably need more than six, but maybe 15 is enough,” he said. “And then the defendants will begin to realize they can’t fight all of these cases and try to reach some reasonable settlement.”
The company settled a previous case with South Carolina 10 years ago over the way it promoted the drug, OxyContin. But the company didn’t admit fault. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is accusing Purdue of violating the settlement. Purdue Pharma said in a statement it denies the allegations but share concerns about the opioid crisis.