City officials of the City of Everett in Washington have filed lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin. The first-of-its-kind lawsuit alleges that the drug company is turning a blind eye to criminal trafficking of its pills in order to reap large profits. The city is demanding that the company pay for the widespread opioid addiction in the community.
Communities are looking for accountability as deaths from drug overdoses are skyrocketing across the country. Family members of victims are asking why pain medications are still overprescribed. An investigation done by L.A. Times last year involving the drug maker Purdue Pharma knowing of illegal trafficking of its pills across the nation, led to the lawsuit being filed by city officials. The company did not share the information with law enforcement and had not cut off the supply.
According to the investigation, gang members were able to get their hands on OxyContin and trafficked the drug on the streets of Everett. In 2010, at the height of the drug problem, OxyContin was a factor in half the crimes committed in Snohomish County. This in turn sparked a heroin epidemic which still troubles the region to this day.
Along with punitive damages, city lawyers are now seeking millions of dollars from the drug company to be paid to Everett. The lawyers wrote that Purdue’s improper actions of endangering the welfare of the citizens of Everett in exchange for profit gains for the drug company. They further wrote that Purdue is liable for its reckless, intentional and negligent misconduct should not be allowed to dodge its responsibility for its unconscionable actions as reported in an article by HealthZette.
The Connecticut based company said that it is committed to collaboratively work to find solutions to the drug menace that the country is facing. In 2007, Purdue Pharma along with its executives paid more than $630 million in legal penalties for willfully misrepresenting drug addiction risks of its products as reported in an article by The Spokesman-Review.