BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Wednesday that his office has filed charges against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, L.P., Rhodes Pharmaceuticals and related entities.
The charges allege that the companies engaged in a scheme to market prescription opioids through unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Purdue manufactures MS Contin, Dilaudid, Butrans, Hysingla and OxyContin — among others — while Rhodes manufactures generic opioids.
The new charges follow charges filed last week against members of the Sackler family who owned, directed and controlled Purdue and Rhodes and their opioid sales and marketing practices.
According to the charges, Purdue and the Sacklers conducted an orchestrated marketing scheme designed to mislead Maryland healthcare providers, patients, insurers, officials and others about the benefits of opioids generally and Purdue opioids specifically — while downplaying the risk of opioids.
The State of Maryland alleges, among other things, the marketing campaigns included misleading prescribers that patients would not become addicted by telling them that common symptom associated with addiction were signs of “pseudoaddiction” that could be addressed by increasing doses.
According to the Statement of Charges, in making sales calls, Purdue ignored warning signs of problematic prescribing by Maryland prescribers, calling upon pain management clinics that Purdue knew or had reason to know were not engaged in practices that could not be justified as serving their patients’ legitimate medical need.
Purdue also allegedly recruited problem prescribers as speakers, paying them to promote Purdue’s opioids even after becoming aware of problematic prescribing.
Frosh released a statement in regard to the charges:
“The charges describe a pattern of deception designed to sell life-threatening medicines without regard to the risk posed to the patients who consumed them. We allege that Purdue and its related entities inflicted devastating harm, and in many cases irreversible harm, on patients and their families.”
The Statement of Charges seeks an order restraining Purdue and Rhodes from further violations of the State’s Consumer Protection Act, monetary penalties for each violation and disgorgement of all revenue the companies received from unlawful conduct.
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