Makers of OxyContin misled patients, doctors on addiction dangers

An American family that has become one of the wealthiest in the nation due to sales of the powerful opioid OxyContin misled doctors and patients about the dangers associated with the drug, The New York Times reported.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed new charges against drug manufacturing company Purdue Pharma, which is owned in part by the Sackler family. The 274-page court filing reveals new evidence that members of the Sackler family made decisions that directly impacted the aggressive marketing of OxyContin while deflecting blame of the nation's growing opioid abuse epidemic away from themselves. The evidence is in stark contrast to how Purdue Pharma has depicted the family as removed from operations of the company.

The filing further states Richard Sackler, a son of one of the founders of Purdue, advised sales representatives to urge doctors to prescribe the highest dosage of OxyContin prescriptions to patients because it was the most profitable, the NY Times reported.

From 1999 to 2017, roughly 218,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to opioids, according to the CDC. The Sacklers are worth approximately $14 billion.

Purdue is embroiled in other lawsuits, including from the state of New York. The company is alleged to have engaged in widespread fraud and deceptive marketing of opioids, contributing to the national abuse epidemic.

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