AUGUSTA—On Monday, Attorney General Aaron Frey filed a complaint in Kennebec County Superior Court against Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company behind OxyContin, alleging that the company committed unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Earlier this year, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced two bills designed to hold drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid crisis.
Senate President Jackson released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“It’s clear that several pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, aggressively pushed opioids onto patients, physicians and the general public. They need to be held accountable for their role in this epidemic and the lengths they stooped to while trying to make obscene profits.
“While these drug companies were exploiting vulnerable people, thousands of hardworking Mainers lost their lives to opioids. Not only have our families and communities suffered, but so has our workforce and economy. I’m grateful that Attorney General Frey has filed this lawsuit and am hopeful that it will serve justice both to the opioid manufacturers that caused this crisis and the families left behind in its wake.”
Opioids have been involved in more than 47,000 deaths in 2017 alone. Data from the CDC indicates that Maine has been among the hardest hit states in the country. News broke earlier this year about the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma engaging in a misinformation campaign about the dangers of OxyContin. Since coming onto the market in 1997, more than 200,000 people have died from an opioid-related overdosed. The Sackler family is worth an estimated $14 billion. In March, Purdue Pharma was forced to settle with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million to account for their role in the opioid crisis.