On Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced his office has filed a lawsuit in Helena against Purdue Pharma, maker of the opiod painkiller OxyContin.

“Our investigation has determined and the state’s complaint alleges that since the late 1990’s, Purdue has engaged in deceptive marketing practices designed to manipulate physicians to ensure that their patients are prescribed OxyContin without making those physicians or patients adequately aware of the dangers of addiction,” said Fox at a Monday pres conference in Helena. “Purdue’s aggressive marketing campaign used brazenly unethical tactics. The company hired influential pain physicians as paid speakers to spread the company’s propaganda at large health conferences.”

Fox outlined the specific violations against Purdue Pharma.

“First, misrepresenting the likelihood that long term use would result in addiction,” he began. “Falsely claiming that use of OxyContin would improve overall health quality, and failing to disclose the harmful side effects of long term opiod use. Falsely claiming that long tem opiod use is safe and effective even though they had no evidence to prove it. Also, falsely claiming that opiods are safer than alternative non-narcotic treatment.”

Fox also levied charges against the executives at Purdue Pharma.

“Our investigation revealed that the executives at Purdue knew exactly what they were doing. Such contrived deception is unconscionable, and should not go without consequences.”

Fox said the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma is only the first of many against major opiod drug makers, and is asking for unspecified damages to be paid to Montanans suffering from abuse of Oxycontin.

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