X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Is West Virginia just an aberration? So far it’s the only state to have hauled Purdue Pharma L.P. into court over the drug company’s handling of its popular painkiller OxyContin. But other states, which are also battling drug abuse problems, say that they are watching the West Virginia case and mulling their options. “We’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” says James Cameron, the drug prosecution coordinator for the Maine attorney general’s office. In an era of vigorous state oversight, those statements should send shivers down the spine of any deep-pocketed company’s GC. It was almost four years ago that states got Big Tobacco to pony up $206 billion in settlements. Spurred by that success, they moved on to the Microsoft antitrust war. Anyone who doubts that state attorneys general are still on the warpath need look no further than Eliot Spitzer, New York’s top prosecutor, who’s now after Wall Street firms for the advice they gave to clients during the nineties gold rush. In weighing their case against OxyContin and Purdue, the states are motivated not only by concerns about the health implications of drug abuse, but by monetary factors, too. Some states are proceeding alone on this front, while others are weighing collective action. For example, Florida and Alabama have both launched individual probes into Purdue’s signature drug. The Florida investigation is ongoing, according to the state attorney general’s office, which declined further comment. Alabama has “declined to participate [in litigation] at this time,” says a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Pryor. OxyContin abuse also affects states’ coffers. David Lunden, the assistant attorney general and director of Maryland’s Medicaid fraud control unit, says that a prescription for the drug carries a retail value of as much as $500. (The potent pills sells for 10 times that amount on the street.) Medicaid patients pay $1 for the tablets — and the states make up the difference. Collectively, some states are looking at other ways to address drug abuse, and they aren’t ruling out a joint legal strategy. The street traffic in other, more traditional painkillers is growing. And The National Association of Attorneys General formed a task force in March 2001 to tackle the problem of drug abuse involving a number of prescription drugs, not just OxyContin. Lunden’s boss, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. is one of the group’s chairs. The task force is looking at several palliatives, including litigation. Maine’s Cameron credits Purdue for speaking out about OxyContin abuse but warns that, unless the company does more to combat the drug’s misuse, “this certainly has the potential of becoming a major, multistate class action. � It’s very much like the early days of the tobacco litigation.” Purdue hopes that the parallel ends there.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.