Stamford-based Purdue Pharma has filed a motion to throw out the state of Ohio’s lawsuit against it, at nearly the same time that New Mexico joined a growing list of plaintiffs suing it and other opioid manufacturers over their marketing practices.Purdue filed its motion late on Sept. 8 in Ohio state court in response to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit accusing it and four other opioid makers of using misleading marketing to trick doctors into overprescribing opioids.
Purdue contends that since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its product Oxycontin for use as a painkiller and approved its safety warnings, federal law prohibits Ohio from seeking to hold it liable under state law. Purdue maintains that it properly disclosed possible addiction risks on its warning labels.
Ohio’s claims are “pre-empted by federal law because they would require Purdue to make statements about the safety and efficacy of its medications that are different from what the FDA approved,’’ the company’s lawyers said in the filing.
In addition, Ohio’s lawsuit “does not identify a single physician who prescribed one of Purdue’s opioid medications to any patient when it was allegedly medically unnecessary, much less, a physician who did so because of Purdue’s allegedly misleading marketing or promotional materials,” according to the filing.
Meanwhile, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has filed a lawsuit accusing Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan Plc, Endo International Plc and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. of deceptive marketing practices. It also maintains that wholesale distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. of breaching their legal duties to monitor, detect and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids.
Similar cases against Purdue and other drugmakers have been filed by Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as several cities and counties in states including California, Illinois, New York and, late last month, in Waterbury.