Suit against OxyContin manufacturer is sent back to Kentucky court

bestep@herald-leader.comSeptember 30, 2011 

A lawsuit claiming that deceptive marketing of OxyContin cost Kentucky and Pike County millions of dollars to deal with drug problems has been sent back to the state for resolution.

The case had been stuck in a New York court. The transfer to Kentucky will allow the state and county to push it forward, Attorney General Jack Conway said in a statement.

Pike County and then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo filed the lawsuit in circuit court in the county in 2007.

The maker of the powerful painkiller, Purdue Pharma, got the case moved to federal court in New York in 2008. There, it was made part of a case that was on hold, court records show.

Conway's office argued the case should be moved back to Pike Circuit Court, and a federal judge in New York agreed this week.

Conway's office announced the decision Thursday.

Purdue Pharma plans to appeal the ruling, Conway said.

The company and three officers pleaded guilty in federal court in 2007 to making misleading claims about the addiction potential of OxyContin. A judge ordered the company to pay $634.5 million in fines.

The lawsuit in Pike County argues Purdue Pharma lied about the addictive nature of OxyContin, causing many people to get hooked, which led to higher health-care costs and forced the state and county to spend millions on investigating, prosecuting and jailing offenders.

"Purdue Pharma's misrepresentations about the addictive nature of OxyContin helped fuel an epidemic of prescription pill abuse across Kentucky," Conway said in a statement.

The company has denied the claims in the suit.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service