State Says OxyContin Maker “Conducted Uncontrolled Experiment On American Public”

The state of Washington and the City of Seattle filed separate lawsuits today against Purdue Pharma, maker of controversial opioid pain medication OxyContin, alleging that the drug company lied to doctors, regulators, and the public about the efficacy and safety of a drug that many place at the center of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

“In 2015, opioid overdoses killed 718 Washingtonians, more than either car accidents or firearms,” reads the complaint [PDF] filed today by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “These deaths are attributable to a flood of prescription opioids into the state over the last two decades.”

The lawsuit, which involves other Purdue-made opioids in addition to Oxy, alleges that “Purdue aggressively marketed what was essentially an uncontrolled experiment on the American public,” and that the drug company lacked “reliable evidence that opioids are effective at relieving chronic pain in the long term.”