National briefs: OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma seeks dismissal of Alaska lawsuit

Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska — The maker of the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin is asking a judge in Alaska to dismiss a lawsuit that lays blame with the company for the state’s epidemic of opioid abuse.

The state sued Purdue Pharma and its affiliates last year, alleging deceptive marketing practices and saying Purdue developed “a well-funded and deeply deceptive marketing scheme that targeted prescribers and prospective patients and caused a sea change in how opioids were perceived and prescribed.”

Purdue and other drugmakers are facing hundreds of lawsuits from governments claiming the companies played a role in sparking opioid addiction and an overdose crisis that killed 42,000 Americans in 2016. Motions to dismiss have been filed by manufacturers in other cases, with rulings pending in several of the lawsuits.

In court filings in the Alaska case, Purdue attorneys say the state is trying to hold the company liable while disregarding factors such as a doctor’s judgment, a patient’s decision on how to use the drug, and the state’s decision on whether to cover drug costs through Medicaid.

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