Six more U.S. states on Tuesday announced lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of fueling a national opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing its prescription painkillers to generate billions of dollars in sales.
U.S. state attorneys general of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee also said Purdue Pharma violated state consumer protection laws by falsely denying or downplaying the addiction risk while overstating the benefits of opioids.
"It's time the defendants pay for the pain and the destruction they've caused," Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi told a press conference.
Florida also sued drugmakers Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allergan, units of Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mallinckrodt, as well as drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
Teva issued a statement in which it emphasized the importance of safely using opioids.
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance, an umbrella group for drug distributors, said in a statement that accusations that distributors were responsible for the abuse of opioid prescriptions defied common sense and lacked understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain worked.