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Indiana sues billionaire family behind maker of OxyContin

May 21, 2019

Indiana is joining other states pursuing lawsuits against the family behind the painkiller OxyContin, seeking to blame them for fueling the national opioid addiction crisis.

The Indiana lawsuit was filed Monday against eight members of Sackler family who own Connecticut-based drugmaker Purdue Pharma. The Indiana attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma in November and at least 45 states have taken legal action against it in recent years.

Indiana's new lawsuit claims the Sacklers wrongly reaped billions in profit by directing company strategies to downplay OxyContin's addiction risks. Attorney General Curtis Hill said the family's actions led to deaths across the country.

“We believe the Sacklers’ wrongful acts have left a wake of addiction, death and devastation in Indiana and across the country,” Hill said in written remarks. “I hope this lawsuit serves notice to all that this office will continue to hold accountable companies and individuals who are engaging in abusive, deceptive, illegal and/or unfair conduct that causes harm to Indiana consumers.”

Representatives for Purdue Pharma and Sackler family members have said such lawsuits misleadingly blame them for a problem that's far bigger than OxyContin.

The attorneys general of Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, West Virginia and Kansas filed similar suits last week. The complaints accuse Purdue and the Sackler family of knowingly pushing doctors to prescribe OxyContin even for minor pain.

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