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Press Release

State Can Continue Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturer

July 12, 2018

(Anchorage, AK) – Alaska’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, LLC for its role in the opioid crisis passed its first legal hurdle today. The Alaska Superior Court denied the request of Purdue Pharma, LLC to dismiss five of the state’s claims against it, keeping alive the core allegations in the case.

“I view this as one of the most important lawsuits that has been brought since I became attorney general of this great state,” said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. “Our opioid crisis has increased crime and torn apart families. Governor Walker is addressing this issue on all fronts, and this lawsuit is part of that effort. Manufacturers such as Purdue must be held accountable for the role their deceptive practices have played in this crisis.”

The Attorney General’s office filed the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, LLC—maker of the opioid OxyContin—in October 2017. The lawsuit alleged that Purdue used deceptive practices in violation of state consumer protection laws, such as promoting the use of OxyContin for long-term chronic pain where there was little evidence to support it. Purdue responded by requesting the superior court to dismiss all the states claims. The court found that the State alleged facts sufficient to state claims against Purdue for unfair methods of competition, public nuisance, fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, and unjust enrichment. The State will have to amend its allegations of violating the Alaska Medical Assistance False Claim and Reporting Act because the court found that the new statute is not retrospective.

“We succeeded on the critical claims in our lawsuit—the unfair methods of competition,” said Attorney General Lindemuth. “The court’s ruling clears the way for us to continue the lawsuit.”

CONTACT: Cynthia Franklin at cynthia.franklin@alaska.gov or 269-5100.

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