Tuesday, September 06, 2005

About 1,000 lawsuits filed against manufacturer of OxyContin


NEW YORK -- About 1,000 people filed separate lawsuits on Staten Island against the manufacturer of the painkiller OxyContin on Friday, claiming they were victims of accidental addiction.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages from the Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma LP, claiming the company dishonestly marketed the pain pill by failing to tell doctors, pharmacists and patients about the morphine-like drug's addictive qualities, according to an attorney in the case, Tor Hoerman.

A Staten Island judge recently declined to certify a class-action suit, saying the cases involve different issues and alleged injuries. Instead, a coordinating judge in state Supreme Court was assigned to preside over each case.

Fourteen cartons containing the lawsuits were dropped off at the courthouse by the attorneys on Friday. It took some six hours for four court employees to process the materials and assign index numbers to each lawsuit.

"It's been a very busy day but we are here to serve the court," said First Deputy County Clerk Mario DiRe.

Similar lawsuits against Purdue Pharma have been filed elsewhere in the country and others are pending, according to Hoerman.

"We hope we can finally let a jury hear this case to bring justice for these victims," he said. "We feel there is misconduct here."

Timothy Bannon, a Purdue Pharma spokesman, said the company will vigorously defend each and everyo one of the cases and fully expects to prevail.

"Over the last four years, Purdue Pharma has never lost an OxyContin personal injury lawsuit," Bannon said in a statement. "On the contrary, 365 personal injury lawsuits involving well over 1,000 plaintiffs, including many cases brought by these same personal injury lawyers, have ended in Purdue's favor. We expect these new cases will be no different."

Those cases have either been dismissed by the court or withdrawn by the plaintiffs. No case has resulted in a verdict against Purdue, although in November 2004 the manufacturer reached an out-of-court settlement with the West Virginia state attorney general's office, which had filed a lawsuit in 2001.

OxyContin, which won federal approval in 1995, is prescribed for terminal cancer patients and others with chronic pain but became a target for abusers who figured out how to use it for a quick, heroin-like high.

Purdue Pharma has said it is not responsible for problems caused by OxyContin abuse because the drug is safe and effective when used as intended.


Blogger Busty Wilde said...

Accidental addiction? Are these people stupid? I'm sure all of these people realize it's a "morphine-like drug" as the article says, and I don't understand how they could pretend to not know that morphine and heroin have addictive qualities. In my mind, this falls in the category of lawsuits that contains cases like the fat kids suing McDonald's, saying they didn't know it would make them fat. Ridiculous.

9/07/2005 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kayaboy said...

I think that may be one of the reasons that the makers of Oxycontin have never lost a court battle. However, I'm not sure all the patients had this information. I mean, since they have to be in a lot of suffering to have it prescribed in the first place. I'm not sure I would be researching the drugs my doctor prescribed if I was in that position.

9/08/2005 11:05:00 AM  

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