Tennessee and five other states are filing new lawsuits accusing a pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing to boost drug sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths.
"My office is holding Purdue Pharma accountable for fueling the nation's opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing prescription painkillers including OxyContin when it knew their drugs were potentially risky and that its use had a high likelihood of leading to addiction", Attorney General Paxton said.
"Today's opioid crisis is inextricably linked to Purdue's pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign".
State Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced the suit, filed in Knox County, on Tuesday.
FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a release that the company "repeatedly deceived prescribers and patients in pursuit of profits".
The announcements follow lawsuits already filed by 16 other USA states, Puerto Rico and New York City against the privately-held company.
Connecticut-based Purdue denied the claims in an email statement that said it will defend itself. The death toll attributed to opioids in the USA has quadrupled over the last two decades.
Separate litigation involving at least 433 lawsuits by USA cities and counties has been consolidated in a federal court in Cleveland, Ohio. In the course of the investigation, Stenehjem said he concluded that Purdue Pharma is in large part responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic.
Florida also sued drugmakers Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc, Allergan, units of Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mallinckrodt, as well as drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp.
Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
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