State passes first hurdle to sue Purdue Pharma

Alaska’s Supreme Court has denied a request from Purdue Pharma LLC to dismiss five state claims against it, clearing the first legal hurdle for the state’s lawsuit against the drug manufacturer for its role in the opioid crisis.

The state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma LLC, which produces OxyContin, was filed in October 2017.

The state alleged that Purdue used deceptive practices in violation pf state consumer protection laws, such as promoting OxyContin for long term chronic pain relief, where there was little evidence to support it. Purdue asked the superior court to dismiss all the state’s claims.

The court found that the state’s alleged facts were sufficient to state claims against Purdue for unfair methods of competition, public nuisance, fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, and unjust enrichment. The state will, however, have to amend its allegations of violating the Alaska Medical Assistance False Claim and Reporting Act because the court found that the new statute is not retrospective, said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth.