Nearly a decade after settling with Purdue Pharma, AGs look for new legal avenues


State attorneys general across the country are looking for new legal pathways to go after Purdue Pharma’s opioid marketing practices, while expressing regret over a 2007 settlement that did little to prevent overprescribing.

One attorney general told CBS News that there was “tremendous buyer’s remorse” across the country following the $20 million settlement with 27 attorneys general nearly a decade ago.

Although the company subsequently pleaded guilty in a separate lawsuit and paid $600 million in fines, sources told the news outlet that states could revisit the 2007 decision to ensure the company complied with the judgement. Kentucky originally rejected a $500,000 settlement offer from Purdue, but accepted a $24 million offer last year.

Last week, Purdue Pharma was named, along with six other pharmaceutical companies and four doctors, in a new lawsuit filed by Suffolk County, New York, according to Simmons Hanly Conroy, the firm representing the plaintiff. The suit compared the actions of opioid manufacturers to tobacco companies that hid the effects of cigarettes, and argued the marketing practices employed by the companies contributed to the rise in opioid addiction within the region.

The pharmaceutical industry is facing another wave of scrutiny into opioid marketing practices, including a revived investigation from New Hampshire. A recent report cast more doubt on Purdue’s practices, highlighting the company’s failure to report or stop drug distribution schemes.