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Report: Stamford co. could face new wave of lawsuits

March 10, 2017 GMT

Purdue Pharma reportedly could face a wave of litigation from municipalities nationally, after the mayor of Everett, Wash. told NBC News his peers have contacted him about the lawsuit his city filed in January 2017 against the Stamford-based maker of OxyContin.

In pursuing litigation, Mayor Ray Stephanson cited what he called “clear evidence that Purdue ignored their responsibility to stop the diversion of OxyContin into the black market” in the quest for profits. The city alleges Purdue Pharma failed in a legal obligation to contact the federal Drug Enforcement Administration of telltale signals of a developing black market for OxyContin in Everett.

Purdue Pharma issued a statement to NBC News stating that while the company is “deeply troubled” by OxyContin abuse, the city “paints a flawed and inaccurate portrayal of events that led to the crisis in Everett,” with the company touting its efforts to develop medications formulated to deter abuse.

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In 2007, Purdue Pharma reached a $600 million criminal settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice after an investigation into its marketing of OxyContin, with former CEO Michael Friedman and two other executives levied penalties of $34.5 million. Purdue Pharma settled with 26 states that year for $19.5 million, and in 2015 agreed to pay $24 million to settle a state investigation in Kentucky.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-354-1047; www.twitter.com/casoulman