Opioid Lawsuit 'Oversimplifies the Problem,'; North Dakota Judge Rules

According to Tess Williams

District Court Judge of Burleigh County has been disappointed filed on behalf of North Dakota whose aim was extreme pharmacy to be responsible for the impact of the opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit, who filed a year ago by North Dakota Attorney Wayne Stenehjem, claimed that inspired Purdue Pharma L.P. The opioid epidemic through an "aggressive and successful marketing campaign designed to convince a prescription and a patient that can and should use opioids for chronic pain." The company produces opioids exclusively and created OxyContin.

The state looked to recover fees related to opioid abuse, which put an end to recent years. The opioid crisis will have a lasting impact on medical services, law enforcement, corrections, compensation of workers, referral programs, prosecution, probation, treatment and child welfare, and the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, doctors began to prescribe opioids more frequently during the 90s after pharmaceutical companies falsely claimed that the pain relievers were not addictive. The Department of Health and Human Services announced a public health emergency in 2017 to address widespread drug misuse and overdose related deaths.

Around 130 people die every day across the nation from opioid-related drug overdoses, DHHS reports. In North Dakota, the number of opioid overdose deaths increased from 11 in 2013 to 54 in 2016, the lawsuit said.

Burleigh District Judge James Hill explained the reasons for dismissing the case in a 27 page order saying “Purdue has no control over its product after it has been sold to distributors, then to pharmacies, and then prescribed to customers. "

"Too simplifies the problem with the state's drive to hold one company because of the whole, complex issue of public health," Hill wrote.

The alleged purue lawsuit violated the state's consumer fraud law through deception practices and through unobservable practices. In his decision, Hill said that Purdue's marketing and promotion was approved because the drugs allowed and followed the marketing procedures.

"The control of the court in the area of ​​consumer protection law has far wider implications than this significant case alone, which could have a negative impact on long-standing consumer protection law in North Dakota," said Stenehjem. "I am confident that the State has strong claims against these defendants, whose unacceptable actions require them to be accountable, and there are well-reasoned arguments that support our position."

Stenehjem said in a statement that he intends to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court state because the ruling is different to decisions made about similar allegations throughout the country.

"We do not agree with the Court's interpretation of the state's demands and the law applicable in many key areas," he said.

Numerous states, cities, American counties and tribes also sued for Purdue Pharma and other companies. Purdue settlement reached $ 270 million in March with the state of Oklahoma and launched a trial on television.

Lawsuits brought by Grand Forks, Cass County and Standing Rock Sioux last month were transferred to a district court in northern Ohio, handling over 1,400 civil cases against pharmaceutical companies producing and selling opioids. These lawsuits seem to be always active.

(c) 2019 Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.)

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