Yet another local government is suing a drug maker for helping to spread the opioid epidemic. But unlike previous lawsuits that accused companies of deliberately downplaying risks and improperly encouraging prescribing, the city of Everett, Wash., has taken a new tack. The municipality charged that Purdue Pharma diverted its OxyContin painkiller into the black market through drug rings and pill mills.
In its lawsuit, the city contended Purdue failed to track suspicious orders and notify law enforcement if criminal activity was suspected, despite having collected “extensive data” about illegal trafficking. As an example, the lawsuit cited a black market ring that was the subject of an investigation last year by The Los Angeles Times, which found Purdue did not notify authorities or stop the flow of pills.