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Consumer Protection Division

Opioid Litigation

Indiana has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. The rates of opioid prescribing in Indiana reached a peak in 2012 when, on average, there were 112 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents in the state.  From 2012 through 2016, there were 58 Indiana counties with opioid prescribing rates greater than 100 prescriptions per 100 residents.

Following an extensive investigation, Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit in Marion Superior Court against Purdue Pharma, LP; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; and The Purdue Frederick Company.  The complaint was filed on November 14, 2018, and updates regarding the case can be found here.

The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has hired Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC and Zimmerman Reed LLP as outside counsel to assist the office in the investigation and litigation.

Goals of Lawsuit

  • Indiana already has taken decisive action to fight the opioid crisis, but a lawsuit is necessary.
  • Purdue Pharma bears substantial responsibility for causing this crisis, and it must bear substantial responsibility to help fix it. Reversing the crisis and preventing a worsening of the opioid epidemic will take immense effort and funding.
  • The state seeks civil penalties and damages through this action in order to work with state agencies and communities to prevent the crisis from worsening and enable those struggling with addiction to enter recovery.
  • The Office of the Attorney General has and will continue to work closely with the Governor’s Office to ensure that any funds available through this action are directed to addressing the public health crisis brought on by Purdue Pharma’s actions.

Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC
Zimmerman Reed LLP

Opioid Resources and Information:
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can locate treatment providers in Indiana by calling 211 or 1-800-682-HELP (4357).

Recovery Resources
Data About the Opioid Crisis
NextLevel Recovery Indiana

Press Release

November 14, 2018: Attorney General Curtis Hill files lawsuit against opioid giant Purdue Pharma

Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit today against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma Inc., Purdue Pharma, L.P., and The Purdue Frederick Company (collectively “Purdue Pharma”). Purdue Pharma’s opioid products include the drug OxyContin. The lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma’s conduct in misrepresenting the risks and benefits of opioids played a key role in the opioid crisis in Indiana.

“Following my office’s thorough investigation of this company’s activity in Indiana, this lawsuit demands Purdue Pharma answer for its violations of Indiana law,” Attorney General Hill said. “This litigation is one additional tool in the state’s arsenal to combat the opioid crisis. My office is committed to holding companies that engage in unfair, abusive, and deceptive practices in Indiana accountable for their misconduct. The lawsuit against Purdue Pharma is the culmination of nearly two years of exhaustive investigation, depositions of former employees, interviews of prescribers across the state, and thorough review of company documents.”

The allegations against Purdue Pharma depict the lengths to which the company sought to increase profits by promoting its opioids in Indiana, including by:

  • minimizing or denying the risk of addiction;
  • exaggerating the benefits of the use of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain;
  • denying or failing to disclose the increased dangers of opioids at higher doses; targeting elderly and opioid-naïve patients to create a new market of long-term customers; and
  • spreading the above misrepresentations to Indiana’s medical community and to consumers; and engaging in an elaborate deception by enlisting what appeared to be independent entities carrying neutral information that was actually paid, funded, or otherwise controlled by Purdue to publicize statements known to be unsupported by facts or scientific research.

The lawsuit, filed in Marion County on behalf of the State of Indiana, alleges that Purdue violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; the Prescription Drug Discount and Benefit Cards Statute; the False Claims Act; and the Medicaid False Claims Act. The complaint seeks maximum penalties, treble damages, costs, and an order directing Purdue Pharma to stop its unlawful conduct.

The state is aided in its lawsuit by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Zimmerman Reed LLP.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can locate treatment providers in Indiana by calling 211 or 1-800-682-HELP (4357).