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April 2000: The Bangor Daily News reports on an alarming increase in the abuse of prescription drugs, especially OxyContin, in Maine; Purdue Pharma L.P., which makes the narcotic, and its GC, Howard Udell, take notice. September 2000: Udell talks about alleged OxyContin abuse with U.S. Attorney’s office in Maine. The meeting leads two months later to a 12-state tour with COO Michael Friedman, meeting with state and federal government officials and showing what the company is doing to counter OxyContin abuse. March 2001: Purdue execs have a tense meeting with attorneys general from Virginia and Maryland over the scope and effects of OxyContin abuse. The month ends with a confrontational meeting with West Virginia officials. June 2001: West Virginia goes to court in one of the first lawsuits over OxyContin. The complaint accuses Purdue and marketing partner Abbott Laboratories of antitrust violations and claims that Purdue was negligent in the marketing and design of the narcotic. August 2001: Udell testifies in one of three congressional hearings over the rapid spread of OxyContin abuse. February 2002: Purdue’s tough litigation stance pays off. A judge in a Kentucky OxyContin case rejects the plaintiffs’ bid to withdraw a class certification motion after Purdue strongly objects to withdrawal. The court refuses to certify the action as a class. The claim is dismissed with prejudice. June 2002: Efforts to develop a reformulated version of OxyContin are dealt a setback in clinical trials. Lawsuits continue to mount. July 2002: The tally so far: 115 cases pending, 11 dismissed, $45 million in attorney fees.

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