Tennessee Attorney General Sues Purdue Pharma

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, along with a bipartisan group of Attorneys General, sued Purdue Pharma today for its unlawful marketing and promotion of OxyContin and other drugs and its role in causing and prolonging the opioid epidemic in Tennessee.

0001pt;"> 

The state’s lawsuit, filed in Knox County Circuit Court, alleges Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, violated its 2007 settlement with the state, and created a statewide public nuisance by interfering with the health of Tennesseans and the commercial marketplace.

 

Attorney General Slatery said, “Our office has conducted an extensive investigation into Purdue’s highly aggressive marketing practices and other unlawful conduct. We believe Purdue’s conduct has been unconscionable, and we intend to hold the company accountable. Three Tennesseans are dying each day from opioid-related overdoses, and we are committed to the hard work that needs to be done to address this tragedy.”

 

The allegations in the State’s approximately 270-page complaint demonstrate how Purdue helped to cause one of the most devastating public health crises in Tennessee’s history. The lawsuit lays out, in stark detail, how Purdue violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act by making numerous unlawful marketing claims about its narcotics, including misleading claims about the safety of the drugs and their benefits to consumers. Public reports previously disclosed that OxyContin prescriptions were for such large quantities that they were unlikely to be consumed by a single person, there were hours-long wait times at doctor offices, and there were drug deals outside doctor offices. The complaint shows that Purdue knew patients were dying from overdoses and that its drugs were being illegally sold to non-patients. Yet, Purdue promoted OxyContin and other narcotics to some of its top prescribers in Tennessee despite these many red flags and targeted our most vulnerable citizens.

 

The Attorney General requested that the complaint be filed under a temporary seal because Purdue previously claimed that information produced to the State during its investigation is confidential. The order signed by the judge would allow the seal to expire in 10 daysunless Purdue takes action to extend it. The Attorney General believes the complaint should be made available to the public and efforts to keep it under seal will only dilute Purdue’s accountability for its conduct. 

 

Tennessee leads a multi-state group of attorneys general who are investigating certain manufacturers and distributors and, while not a party, voluntarily engaging in settlement discussions in connection with the federal opioid multidistrict litigation pending in Cleveland, Oh. The Attorney General’s Office continues to work toward a global resolution that will provide comprehensive injunctive relief as well as statewide remediation to assist with prevention, treatment, and education in every community—particularly those hardest hit by this opioid epidemic. “We remain hopeful about reaching an early resolution, but, as evidenced by today’s action against Purdue, we will not hesitate to file suit if it is in the State’s best interest,” said Attorney General Slatery.  

 



Tennessee Unemployment Holds Steady For 3rd Consecutive Month

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today released the statewide unemployment rate for July 2018, and for the third consecutive month the statistic has remained at a historically low 3.5 percent.   Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has not only remained unchanged since May, ... (click for more)

CARTA Approves Revised Policy On Persons Addressing The Board; To Provide Safety Training To Drivers

The CARTA board on Thursday passed a revised ordinance on persons addressing the board, including a provision that no person shall be allowed to appear before the board more than two times during any consecutive four-month period. The City Council allows speakers twice a month, while the County Commission has no limit on appearances. CARTA meets once a month. The city and ... (click for more)

Authorities Say Hixson Man Shot And Killed His 15-Year-Old Son On Saturday Night; Also Killed Family Dog

Authorities said a Hixson man shot and killed his 15-year-old son on Saturday night. A report says Mike McElrath, 46, a former Hamilton County jailer, who was found naked at a neighbor's house, also killed the family dog. County deputies responded at 10:24 p.m. to 1846 Cotter Road. The residents said there was a man on their front porch who said he was "butt naked" and said ... (click for more)

Gary Douglas, 25, Shot Early Sunday Morning; Dewayne Stanley, 24, Is Arrested

Gary Douglas, 25, was shot early Sunday morning, and Dewayne Stanley, 24, was arrested.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at approximately  3 a.m.   to a person shot on the 4700 block of Murray Lake Lane. Upon arrival, officers were able to locate Douglas, who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.   Investigators ... (click for more)

Harold Austin Was Hamilton County's Crown Jewel

My dear friend, longtime public servant, Mr. Harold Austin, will be greatly missed. He was with the state of Tennessee and Hamilton County for many years. Doyle Ray Marler * * * Harold Austin was Hamilton County’s crown jewel.   He was beloved by generations in municipal and state government. He knew so many involved in local, state, and federal roadway ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 90% Can’t Do Math

Friday’s newspaper headline blared, “Hamilton County Schools see dramatic growth in student performance” and that, my friend, is “fake news” at its finest. A better try might be, “90 Percent of Kids In Chattanooga Can’t Do Math.” Let’s face it: We know that a full 70 percent of 43,000 students in our public school system are not on track, this based on state test scores, and -- ... (click for more)