Lawsuits aimed at drug industry

May 18, 2019 - 8:18 am
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Five state attorneys general announced lawsuits Thursday seeking to hold the drug industry responsible for an opioid addiction crisis that has become the biggest cause of accidental deaths across the country and in many states. 

The new filings in Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin mean 45 states have now taken legal action in recent years against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. Some of the states are also suing Richard Sackler, a former president and member of the family that owns the Connecticut-based firm. Maryland is also suing other members of the Sackler family.

States’ suits are among the highest-profile claims in flood of litigation over the crisis. Opioids, including prescription painkillers and related drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, were involved in nearly 48,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2017 — more than AIDS killed at the peak of that epidemic and more than auto accidents kill annually. The death toll since 2000 is 391,000.

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