A Massachusetts judge ruled on Monday that the state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for allegedly helping spawn the opioid crisis should be released in full to the public. Previous versions of the suit, which have already provided new details about how the company marketed its blockbuster OxyContin painkiller, contained portions that were redacted.

The complete document could shed light on decisions made by Purdue’s board and how much money company executives made.

The decision from Judge Janet Sanders in Suffolk County Superior Court came in response to a motion filed by media organizations, including STAT and the Boston Globe, to release the full lawsuit, which was originally filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in June.


Sanders ordered that Massachusetts’ complaint had to be made public by noon on Friday. (There was one exception: She said one paragraph that mentioned private medical information of a Purdue official could remain redacted.)

Purdue said in a statement that it planned to ask an appellate court to stay Sanders’ decision.

Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and WBUR joined STAT and the Globe in seeking to release the full document.

The state’s lawsuit also names current and former Purdue executives and members of the Sackler family, who control the privately held company, as defendants.

At a court hearing Friday, Purdue’s attorney had tried to argue that releasing the full complaint would interfere with the collection of company documents in a separate legal case in federal court in Ohio. There, lawsuits from hundreds of tribes, cities, counties, and other states against Purdue and other opioid makers have been bundled together. Purdue said the Massachusetts court should wait to decide what it would make public until authorities in the federal court had determined what company documents they would release and what they would determine was confidential.

“The disclosure of the information — while it may prove embarrassing for some of the defendants — is not intensely personal or private,” Sanders wrote in her opinion. “In essence, the information describes the inner workings of a company and discussions about company business among its directors, officers, and employees. Any interest in keeping this information secret is hardly compelling and certainly not enough to overcome the presumption of public access.”

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  • I was one of the first people to even get Oxycontin in Alabama. It was in1992-1994. I hurt my neck and the doc said there was a new pain pill taht released so slow it was not addictive. I had never heard of it and no one I knew had heard of it. Well I still take that damn medication and it almost kills me to try and stop. Ihate that doctor because of what he did. I had never taken pain meds. I told him I did not want pain meds because they were addictive and my father was a alcokolic and I was scared I would have issues if I took pain killers for any time at all. he put me on 40 mg Extended release Ocycontin. I was relieved because I had finally found something that stopped the pain but wouldnt leave me dependant on pills. I still take Oxycontin. These Doctors should lose all license.

  • I was prescribed OxyContin from 1998ish until 2005. I was also prescribed Dilaudid, Fentnyl patches, and many other drugs due to a bone disease in my jaw. Large amounts of OxyContin were given to me straight from the door. These drugs ruined my life. I had never done drugs before I was prescribed these medications. My Dr just up and left, no notice, no new Dr, he just up and left me with a huge addiction. I am sure I am not the only patient of his that was receiving large amounts of OxyContin who was just abandoned. I was in my 30’s and lost EVERYTHING. I struggle to this day with addiction,depression, anxiety and PTSD. How would I get involved in the class action lawsuit against Purdue? I am convinced my Dr was receiving financial kickbacks from Purdue for prescribing the enormous amounts of OxyContin he was. Can someone please point me in the right direction. Thank you
    Celine Piccar

  • I am from Massachusetts but while living in Oregon I have prescribed Oxycontin. It almost killed me. I did not overdose but was on large doses prescribed by Dr. I ended up severely addicted and in a hospital for several weeks Am I a candidate for adding myself to law suite? Please contact me and let me know. Thank you.

  • I lost my entire 20’s to addiction because I was in constant pain from Endometriosis and they gave me copious amounts of Oxy. My only other choice was a hysterectomy. I was so young and wanted a baby so bad. I was told it was my only choice. then after getting severely addicted, my doctors cut me off with no warning and sent me on my way. I then spent years being treated like trash by recovery clinics when I didn’t even want this to begin with. I was told it was my ONLY option. yet I’m treated like I brought it on myself. well newsflash. Thank GOD I held on and didn’t Listen to the ‘specialists’ because 6 years after they told me I’d never have kids and should have everything taken out, I had a beautiful baby girl. Wish I knew how to get in on this. I had to drop out of school, lost my job, and it generally ruined my life by setting me back. All I want is to give my Miracle baby a good life. I feel like I was shot in both feet and told to run for my life.

  • My daughter is “in recovery “ now but we are out 22,000 trying to get her there would love to recoup some funds!!!!

  • Thank you from the numerous families across America who have lost so much. Our Kyle got their drugs after a surgery at 15, it woke up addiction in his brain. He is gone now.

  • How in the world can Perdue keep these salient facts relevant to the lawsuit away from the public? I WANT TO KNOW. I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. What basis, other than the fact that Perdue and their ilk have a boatload of money, is there to keep these facts and the documentary evidence away from public scrutiny? A trade secret? Private communications? Not as far as I can see because their right to a trade secret ends at their participation in causing the death of my daughter, Emma.

    • Certainly the companies carry some responsibility. No one makes the physicians prescribe opioids or people to take them. In the end, thats where most of the responsibility rests

    • JohnC,

      I concurred, physicians should understand fully the side effects of the medications. Evidence-based should apply to side effects, not only for treatments.

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